Musician’s Musing – March 2020

This month’s musing is written by BSO assistant principal violist, librarian, and personnel coordinator Jon Poupore. We are so happy to have Jon on the BSO’s administrative and musical teams and are thrilled to share his words with you here!

It’s been nearly three years since my husband James and I moved from Maine to Minnesota, and what a wonderful move it’s been. I grew up in Duluth and James spent his teens and early 20’s in the Upper Midwest. I was especially fortunate to be coming back when I did as I was able to spend a quality two years with my mother as she dealt with ovarian cancer. She died a year ago this past January.

James Carlisle (left) & Jon Poupore (right)

I’ve always had a non-traditional relation to music: I’ve sung in choirs my whole life, took up Classical guitar and piano as a young teen, and at age 17 started the viola with a former student of William Primrose. Deciding to attend St. John’s University for pre-medical studies in 1981, I quickly switched over to Viola Performance and haven’t looked back since. It was there that I was roommate for two years with a pianist named Carl, and after losing track of each other for some 35 years, reunited and have since put on a program of Viola and Violin music that we’ve shared over 15 times.

To say I love chamber music does not quite cut it; indeed I get the highest satisfaction when playing quartets. It’s sometimes discouraging that it can be so difficult to pull people together to play, but I currently have several groups and the quality is improving all the time. I’ve started a monthly series called Classical Open Mic at Southdale Center which meets every first Wednesday of the month; join us, bring a piece to share, or sit in the audience. 

I’ve also made a lifelong commitment to understanding the technique of the violin legend Jascha Heifetz, and can say with a high degree of certainty that I have it “figured out.”  I love sharing that knowledge too.  My other music passion is mechanical instruments, particularly something called a Reproducer Piano, which is just a very sophisticated player piano.  I currently have three!

When we moved from Baltimore to Maine in 2007, I slid right into a job as the Librarian for the Portland Symphony Orchestra, an environment with wonderful co-workers, big responsibilities, and enjoyable duties.  I am happy to be bringing some of those skills to my job with the BSO. I also worked Personnel both in Portland and earlier with the Duluth-Superior Symphony in the 1990’s.

Accompanying my move to Minnesota is a commitment to changing my status as musician from professional to amateur, and it’s been a great decision. I also play with the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the world’s few GLBTQA orchestras, and a highly gratifying experience. Eventually I hope to find a local chorus to join.

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Remembering Kristin Brinkmann

By Sara Kleinsasser Tan

Kristin Brinkamn
Kristin Brinkmann, violinist

My first encounter with Kristin was in late August 2014, via a message from the BSO’s website contact form. Her message simply read: “Being on permanent disability from MN Orch and suddenly being relegated to the audience is seriously not agreeing with me. Would you have a spare chair for me here? I miss it too much.”

A short time later, Kristin joined the BSO as a first violinist, where she served as assistant concertmaster, filled in as concertmaster from time to time, led sectionals for the second violin section, and served on the Board of Directors.

If you attended a concert between October 2014 and November 2017, you likely saw a very tall (over six feet!) first violinist who would sit on an unusually tall chair on the outside of the section. She didn’t always stand when the rest of the orchestra rose, and she’d often stay in her chair during the intermission.

In addition to the aforementioned disability, Kristin lived with Parkinsons disease. She was forced to step away from her professional playing with the Minnesota Orchestra, but with the right combination and timing of pain medication, Kristin was able to prepare for and participate in the BSO’s weekly rehearsal. She would embark on the long drive from her home in White Bear Lake, to rehearsals in Bloomington, often arriving early to give her time to move in her heavy chair, and warm up her muscles enough to be able to play.

During her time on the board, Kristin provided me with so much insight that could only come with her extensive musical experience. One example that stands out is the unique perspective she offered on repertoire. One year, Manny had his eye on a certain piece for an upcoming season concert. Kristin knew the piece from her days at the Minnesota Orchestra, and warned against programming it, noting its difficulty for the professional musicians of the MN Orchestra. She was able to suggest alternate ideas that would lead the ensemble to musical success and musicians’ personal satisfaction.

I leaned heavily on Kristin’s editing skills for program notes and grant applications. She vigorously used the Microsoft Word editing feature, enthusiastically placing every comma, correcting many a grammatical error, strictly adhering to her inner style guide, always making sure the BSO was representing itself to the highest standard.

Over the years, Kristin started experiencing more and more pain. Following the November 2017 concert, she stepped away from playing and unfortunately never returned. We have missed Kristin’s playing and presence, but have always been planning on her return to playing and board service. We were heartbroken when we received the news that Kristin died of pneumonia on January 24, 2020, at the too young age of 52.

We humbly offer this tribute, along with the rose on the empty chair, as a memorial to a musician who has left her indelible mark on our organization. We are grateful for her time and service to our musicians and board.

We encourage you to read Kristin’s “Musicians Musings” posted on our website where you can read more of her story in her own words.

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From Boisterous to Pastoral :: Concert Preview 2 of 3


Before each concert, we share “Manny’s Musings,” thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. This is the second edition of the “Musings” for the “From Boisterous to Pastoral” concert that will be performed on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor

Camille Saint-Saëns

Imagine how wonderful it would be to be a gifted composer! Melodies and harmonies would flow from you to your pen (perhaps a computer in today’s world) as you needed them. Now imagine the luxury of having at your disposal some of the world’s greatest soloists, eager to play the music you have written for them. This was the world Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 – 1921) lived in, as he was able to write this work for Pablo de Sarasate, a luminary of the violin world from Spain who was only a tender fifteen years of age!

What is remarkable about this concerto is revealed in the single movement you will hear at this BSO concert. It is common for composers of this time and before to write their finales in rondo form. That is to say, that one theme will have the opportunity to come back repeatedly, an economical way of writing and a good way to have your audience leave whistling the tune. Saint-Saëns eschews that form with a curt “Non, non!” and proceeds to use no fewer than five separate themes that tie together in the way that only a genius could dictate. Not since Mozart do we have a composer “throw away” themes in a playful manner and with such success. One theme in particular is so serene and pastoral as to put on display Saint-Saëns’ Catholic faith. Its tranquil beauty returns as a powerful hymn played by the brass section against the busy strings, each complementing each other.

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “From Boisterous to Pastoral” featuring Catherine Carson, winner of the Mary West Solo Competition as soloist for Camille Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3. The concert takes place on Sunday, February 24, 2019, at 3 p.m. at the Gideon S. Ives Auditorium at the Masonic Heritage Center (11411 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington).

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Introducing Catherine Carson, Violin

Catherine Carson, Violin

Catherine Carson (Cate) is from Northfield, MN, and is a violin student of Sally O’Reilly. She is in 11th grade and is in the Pre-Conservatory program at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School. She has been playing the violin since she was four years old. Cate is a prize winner in many competitions, including the Thursday Musical Competition, the Schubert Club Competition, the YPSCA Competition, the Rochester Music Guild Competition, the Mary West Solo Competition, and the 2018 Senior Level MTNA Competition, West Center Division. 

Cate has performed in the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, Maine, California Summer Music in Sonoma County, and the Bravo Festival in Minnesota. She has worked with Almita Vamos, John Gilbert, Robin Scott, Renée Jolles, and Susan Crawford, and has participated in masterclasses with Jennifer Koh, Gwen Thompson, and Nicola Benedetti. Her orchestral experiences include both the Minnesota Youth Symphonies and Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, serving as concertmaster twice. Her favorite academic subjects are English and history, but when not practicing or studying, Cate enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and her cat.

Join Cate for her performance of the final movement of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3 with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, February 24. The BSO is grateful to the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association and the coordinators of the Mary West Solo Competition in identifying this fine soloist!

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Musician’s Musing – May 2018

This month’s Musician’s Musings was written by BSO first violinist, Kelly who shares her experience with the Minnesota Orchestra Fantasy Camp as well as the trials and tribulations that led her to the BSO.

The Major Leagues – A Fantasy Camp Experience, Part III

Music has always played an important role in my life.  To simply put a complex experience, it has been a constant vehicle of learning and growth.  In addition to the music, from an early age, the orchestra helped me learn what it means to be a part of a team, to work hard, to build trust and relationships, and to have fun while doing it!  My high school orchestra and teacher made the greatest impacts on my childhood, which inspired the decisions that led to where I am now as an adult.

I became a violin teacher.  It’s a job I love and look forward to every day.  But despite that, I was still missing what made me fall in love with the instrument – making music with the orchestra.  So I set my sights on the Bloomington Symphony.  Their reputation and quality was something I wanted to contribute to.  So, I practiced my solo and excerpts and wasn’t sure what to expect – I had never auditioned for a panel before.  Nervously, I played and failed.  It was rough, and in reality, I was unprepared.  It was hard to hear the critiques, but important, since I was already planning on auditioning again.

Next summer came, and this time it was going to be different.  I set a practice regiment, joined a sight-reading orchestra and sought out a teacher for myself.  Alas, it still wasn’t enough and I failed the second audition.

Another year went by, and the Bloomington Symphony had announced that Manny Laureano would be taking over.  This sparked a different motivation in me than before – I had been listening to him play trumpet on stage with the Minnesota Orchestra since childhood.  He was a musical hero to me and I saw this as a huge learning opportunity to play under him.  I increased the practice time, focused my efforts, and began studying under another teacher, Pam Arnstein of the Minnesota Orchestra.  In addition to being an incredible musician, she is equally amazing at teaching and helped my playing reach new levels than before.  I went in for my third audition and passed!  At last, I was in the orchestra.

Why I Play: Kelly Carter

Since then, my time with Bloomington Symphony has been priceless.  The repertoire and demands of Manny and the orchestra have elevated my musicianship to a place I never thought it could be.  I’m extremely grateful and owe a lot of my progress to the group.  I’m pretty sure this also contributed largely into my acceptance in the Minnesota Orchestra Fantasy Camp held last summer.

Fantasy Camp is a 3-day experience allowing amateur musicians to feel what it’s like to be in the Minnesota Orchestra – something I had dreamed about since beginning the violin.  The camp was demanding and expected the music to be fully prepared for the first day.  By doing this, it made room for us to focus on the music making right away, instead of learning the notes.  We also attended talks on conducting with Sarah Hicks, Q&A with Michael Sutton, and rehearsals with Osmo.  But what I was most looking forward to was playing with the orchestra.  We received our seating assignments the second day and BAM!  That’s when the camp became surreal.  My seat was next to Pam.

Our rehearsals felt like it went by quickly but I was ready.  We took our places on stage for the concert and it all just hit me.  Here I was standing on Orchestra Hall, playing in partnership with my teacher, under Osmo, in front of a sold-out hall.  We played Roman Carnival Overture by Berlioz and the crowd went wild.  It’s an indescribable feeling of joy, appreciating the circumstances, work, and support that put you there on that stage.

Without the Bloomington Symphony, it wouldn’t have happened.  I would have never known what preparation meant, or how to quickly interpret the requests of a demanding conductor, let alone my playing quality.  They have helped me grow over the years and I’m so grateful that I get to be a part of the orchestra’s growth now too.  Since graduating, I had missed that feeling of camaraderie, and am honored that I have found it again with this family of musicians, the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.

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Musician’s Musing – March 2018

This month’s Musician’s Musings was written by BSO first violinist, Jessica Cheng who shares her experience with the Minnesota Orchestra Fantasy Camp.

The Major Leagues – A Fantasy Camp Experience, Part II

Fantasy Camp with the Minnesota Orchestra was an incredible experience. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. All I knew is that my friend, Cynthia, expressed interest in participating, and she managed to sucker me into doing it as well. I had initial doubts if this was going to be worth my time since I had to take time off of work. But as I look back on the two days that I spent in Orchestra Hall, I can confidently say that the time was well spent.

 

Some highlights from the Minnesota Orchestra Fantasy Camp:

– I had the privilege of sitting next to Rui Du, the assistant concertmaster. I was extremely humbled (and intimidated!) by his talent, but the best part about sitting next to him was getting to know him outside of his profession. We talked about our Asian backgrounds, our families, and how this event was something that he also enjoyed. We also talked about how we are both transplants to Minneapolis and the associated challenges that transplants often face. This ability to empathize with similar issues made me realize that I, Jo Schmoe with a corporate job, am actually not that different from a professional musician.

– The orchestra knows how to have fun. I remembered mentally preparing myself to be as professional and serious as possible on stage, especially in front of Osmo. But my nerves quickly faded away when I saw everybody smiling and joking around, including Osmo. You could truly tell that these musicians loved playing together. And there’s definitely some ‘class clowns’ in the orchestra (e.g. viola section, Peter McGuire, dare I also include Michael Sutton?)

– I am proud of the musicians that the Bloomington Symphony brings together. We are a talented bunch. I was taken by surprise after the second rehearsal when Jonathan Magness, second violin, and I were chatting and he told me that I sounded great! I was thinking, “who? Me?!” The compliment has since resonated with me, so Jonathan, if you’re reading this– thank you. That meant so much to me.

– If you have never played at Orchestra Hall, you absolutely have to. The acoustics are out of this world. The ability to play in such a beautiful and pleasing space was worth every penny.

– And last but not least, the highlight of the entire experience was the standing ovation from a completely sold out concert. We struck our last chord of Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, and the roar of clapping and whistles was overwhelming. As I looked out, I saw a row of my closest friends and colleagues, and my heart was filled with so much joy. In that moment, I realized that I had just played with the Minnesota Orchestra, and I was so happy that I was able to share that moment with the people who are so important to my Minneapolis community.

I thank the Minnesota Orchestra, Sarah Hicks, Osmo Vanska, and my fellow amateur musician friends for making the Fantasy Camp so fun. I am honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to play with some of the best musicians in the world in an incredible venue, and I look forward to doing it again!

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Musician’s Musing – December 2016

This month’s Musician’s Musings was written by BSO Board Member and first violinist, Kristin Brinkmann. 

Kristin Brinkmann, Violin

Kristin Brinkmann, Violin

As a fairly recent addition to the first violin section of the Bloomington Symphony (this is my third season), I have to say that it’s provided the perfect infusion of musical nourishment, which I desperately needed during a difficult time.  And it’s that continuing infusion of musical nourishment that keeps compelling me to get into my car way up in White Bear Lake, and trek all the way down to Bloomington on Sunday evenings for rehearsals.  For many years, I used to get into my car and make a similarly long trek to go and play with a different orchestra most days of the week – the Minnesota Orchestra.  Based on the various versions of my lifetime career model which used to run through my head, my car should still be driving me to Orchestra Hall and not to the Bloomington Symphony, although the BSO does feel quite a lot like the Minnesota Orchestra most of the time.  My fellow Minnesota Orchestra second violinist and frequent stand partner, Michael Sutton, is playing just a few feet away from me, and Manny Laureano is conducting, which he also did from time to time at the Minnesota Orchestra, when they would occasionally let him put down his trumpet for a few days.

Why does my car now drive me to the BSO, and not to Orchestra Hall?  First of all, it’s only a 2002 Honda Civic, so it’s technically not capable of taking me anywhere I haven’t decided to go.  It isn’t a cutting edge driverless vehicle whose computer brain got hacked and suddenly began driving me to the wrong orchestra one day.  Rather, it was my brain that got hacked over 15 years ago, and a neurobiological form of malware began running, which caused me to develop young-onset Parkinson’s disease when I was 33.  Parkinson’s is a neurological degenerative movement disorder, with some good treatments, but no cure at this time.  It is almost unthinkable for a violinist to suddenly face losing the voice we’ve spent our lives cultivating to a disease that causes you to lose motor control.  In most cases, we’ve spent our entire lives and countless hours in violin lessons, practicing, at workshops, music camps and music festivals, and have often completed multiple college degrees learning, among other things, how to consistently make unbelievably precise movements so that we have the technical ability to translate our soul, passion, musical ideas and creativity from our minds, through our bodies, and into a wooden box and a stick with some horse hair attached to it.  And Parkinson’s isn’t at all predictable.  The saying in the Parkinson’s community is, “The only thing that’s predictable about Parkinson’s is that it’s unpredictable”.

Kristin playing in nature

Kristin playing in nature

That’s what I was faced with early in my career with the Minnesota Orchestra, and I have to say that in many respects, things have gone much better than I ever imagined they could have 15 years ago.  I might be wrong, but I believe that the fact that I was already a professional violinist when I developed Parkinson’s has helped me stay as healthy as I am for so long.  But crazy things happen with no warning, and I’d be ready to walk out the door to play a concert at Orchestra Hall when my left arm and leg might suddenly go into severe tremors for no reason I could discern, and that could go on for 15 minutes to eight or more hours.  At that point, I often couldn’t really walk, much less open a violin case and pick up my violin without likely smashing it to smithereens.  After about a decade of having Parkinson’s while in the Minnesota Orchestra, the unpredictability and severe fatigue caused by the disease brought me to the point where I had to leave the job and the orchestra I loved so much, and I suddenly found myself without my “musical tribe”, and alone at home with a violin.  For about two years, I couldn’t listen to music.  At least not any of the music that I’d played before, or had hoped to play in the future.  Or music that reminded me of music that I’d played before or had hoped to play in the future.  We’ll call this my “Beatles Period.” And I didn’t practice very much for the some of the same reasons.  Add a few spine surgeries into this mix, and then the fact that there simply wasn’t anything to practice for.  No upcoming rehearsals or concerts!  This was the first time I’d ever had a calendar completely devoid of anything musical since I took my very first violin lesson!

That brings us back to the point where my car began driving me to the Bloomington Symphony for Sunday rehearsals.  I knew that I could still play really well when all things neurological and musculoskeletal aligned perfectly, and I’d had an ample amount of sleep, and when I’d taken my various Parkinson medications on the precise schedule I’d worked out over a decade earlier, and if I was just plain lucky that day.  And while some violinists in a similar situation might relish being alone to play the J.S. Bach Sonatas and Partitas for unaccompanied violin for whatever amount of time every few days that everything was working somewhat normally, I really missed playing in an orchestra!  I was already familiar with the BSO because several of my Minnesota Orchestra colleagues had been the concertmaster here over the years.  I went online to see where all of the community orchestras were rehearsing, who was conducting them, what music they were performing, and to familiarize myself with who was doing what where, and did White Bear Lake have an orchestra that I wasn’t aware of?  Once I saw that Manny Laureano was now conducting the BSO, and that Michael Sutton was the concertmaster, I knew that the BSO was where I needed to go!

I didn’t know whether I’d be able to play an entire rehearsal without some weird Parkinson’s movements starting up, and I can’t always do that.  And I didn’t know whether I’d be able to play every single rehearsal and concert, and I can’t.  But once I’ve gotten myself there and we begin to play, a part of myself I thought I might have lost forever reawakens!  I believe the first piece we played at the very first rehearsal I attended was the Wagner Overture to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – a piece I’d played countless times since high school.  But it was as if I were playing for the very first time all over again!  Hearing the sound of the full orchestra around me again, and playing that first violin part that has you soaring up into stratosphere gave me more than anything that any of my favorite doctors or the best treatments could provide!  Another popular saying in the Parkinson’s community is “Exercise is medicine!”, and I firmly believe that to be true.  But in my case, the more important saying would be “Music is medicine”!

People ask me what it’s like playing in the BSO after having been in the Minnesota Orchestra, and I suspect that they think they know how I’m going to reply. We rehearse in a church basement instead of Orchestra Hall, we’re a far smaller group, and not everyone has had the same amount of musical training in their background.  But beginning with that first rehearsal three years ago, through to our most recent concert in the Schneider Theater on November 20, I have to say that there’s no difference at all in anything that really matters!  I feel the same rush and the same sense of accomplishment and comradery after having played well during a BSO rehearsal or performance as I did during and after my concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra!  I’m very fortunate to have found the BSO three years ago when I desperately needed musical nourishment after living in a musical desert for some time, and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra has most definitely become my new “musical tribe”!

 

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“Music in 3D: Part Three” Concert Preview No. 2

Before each concert, we share “Manny’s Musings,” thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. This is the first of three “Musings” for the “Music in 3D: Part Three” concert that will be performed on April 17, 2016.

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Minor Op. 47, by Jean Sibelius

Jean Sibelius, composer

Jean Sibelius, composer

My first encounter with this concerto of Sibelius (1865-1957) was as a student at the Juilliard School. It was completely unfamiliar to me yet it gripped me from the start. This piece, which took about three years (1902-1905) to write and revise, speaks poetically and passionately from beginning to end. From its indistinct and humble opening that speaks sensuously, scales and arpeggios and octaves that seem to mock hard-working students, and a brusque theme that is evocative of a masculine bar song sung by Nordic fishermen, Sibelius claims a rightful title as not only the greatest of all Finnish composers but as one of the most thoughtful composers in history.

Louisa Woodfull-Harris, Violin

Louisa Woodfull-Harris, Violin

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “Music in 3D: Part Three” featuring violinist Louisa Woodfull-Harris, winner of the Mary West Solo Competition sponsored by the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association. The concert takes place on Sunday, April 17 at 3 p.m. at the St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington.

To learn more about the concert, click here. You can order tickets online through the Bloomington Box Office or by calling 952-563-8575.

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Musicians Musings – April 2016

Jenna Loeppke

This month’s Musician’s Musings was written by substitute second violinist and BSO Board Member, Jenna Loeppke. Jenna brings a great deal of enthusiasm and passion to the BSO and we are grateful for the wisdom she is sharing with our audience through this post!

5 Ways Music Has Changed My Life

I’ve been playing my violin since I was six years old and playing piano since second grade, flute since fifth grade, and singing since seventh grade. But within all of my musical training, my mom worked hardest to make sure I would play the violin. She always dreamed of playing it herself but when her orchestra teacher chose her to play the viola instead, she thought she’d had no choice.

And during my early teen years, whenever my mom would sit down at the piano and decide it was time for me to practice, I also thought I’d had “no choice.” It wasn’t the playing that bothered me. I loved hearing the notes sing out of my instrument when I drew my bow across the strings. It was the incessant rehearsal of difficult passages and techniques my teacher and my own mother were forcing on me. I remember feeling as if I was locked in some sort of torturous prison.

Looking back, I’m so thankful that I never let myself quit playing music. That’s not to say that my mother hadn’t threatened to call my teachers and cancel all of my lessons if I’d refused to pick up my instrument.  Many tears were shed and tantrums thrown in our family room next to our upright piano. But at least I wasn’t as bad as my friend who used to throw her violin in the trash just to spite her mother. And just to prove that music can turn around even the most difficult child: this friend of mine is now training to be a professional opera singer.

I’ve come to love the music that was engrained in me for so many reasons. But to encourage you or your children to continue playing or learning music, here are my top five reasons for sticking with it:

1) Music has allowed me to build strong connections with others

Over the years, I’ve met people in school, in my neighborhood, at church, and in sports. Sure, these are all wonderful places to make friends but I can honestly say that my fondest memories come from the times I shared with fellow musicians. From childhood group lessons to Minnesota All-State Orchestra to joining a Community Orchestra in France, these are memories and people I will cherish forever. Music is a powerful tool that can be used to create lasting bonds that conquer over barriers like languages, age groups, and differences in personality.

2) Music teaches discipline

Sometimes I think the only reason I was able to make it through some of my college classes or crazy schedules as a teen and young adult is because I had the discipline to push through the insanity. Self-restraint is something that most people don’t naturally possess. Generally, it needs to be practiced – a lot.

Music, and specifically the violin, has brought stability and structure to my life. That stability has helped me make small, daily decisions and important life choices too. It has led me to achieve things I never thought I could accomplish. I truly know that things don’t come easily – something I found while trying to tune the chords Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: III. Sarabande. Life is tough; it’s best to have the discipline to make the most of it.

3) Music forced me out of my comfort zone

Music made me uncomfortable in the following ways: competition, taking criticism (sometimes in front of large groups of people), performing, and meeting new people. Most everyone can understand why these situations aren’t always comfortable for a six year old or even an 18 year old. But now, every time I am faced with a new, uncomfortable situation, I have the tools to help me get through it.

4) Music took me to Europe

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with Europe. I’d dream of the castles I’d see and the history I’d uncover in my travels across the many countries. My chance to go there finally came when I was in high school and I joined the program, Minnesota Ambassadors of Music.

So far, that expedition has sparked three more trips to Europe and two study abroad experiences. When I was a senior in college, I spent my last semester in Pau, France where I met many new friends in the community orchestra I’d joined, L’Orchestre Symphonique du Sud-Ouest. These French musicians remain very special friends to me, even though they live thousands of miles away.

5) Music inspires me

Finally, there isn’t anything that inspires me more than a piece of music. Sometimes, it’s a piece that we’re playing in symphony and sometimes it’s something I heard by accident on a drive home. It inspires me at my job, in my personal life, and even in my musical life, encouraging me to be my best self and to produce my best work.

Music has been an integral part of my personal growth and I am forever grateful to my mom who knew the impact it could have in my life. Though dedication to music hasn’t always been easy, I know it has the power to bring out the best in me and in the lives of others.

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BSO Benefit Recital 2016 Photos

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