My week with NZSO: Wounded Hearts tour
40 MONTHS AGO
Last week I had the privilege of touring with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra as part of the Wounded Hearts tour, with guest conductor Rafael Payare and cellist Alisa Weilerstein. It turned out to be even more exciting than I had anticipated - originally I was only going to play in the Wellington and Auckland concerts, but ended up playing the Napier, Tauranga and Whangarei concerts too, replacing a second violinist who was ill. I was so grateful for the opportunity to help out, as it was my first chance to tour with the band.
Several experiences on the tour stood out as memories I'll cherish for a long time.
The chance to meet Alisa Weilerstein. I've looked up to her ever since I first heard her recordings about seven years ago, and it was incredible to see her play in real life (although I got pretty starstruck, and it took over a week of rehearsals and several concerts before I worked up the courage to speak to her). Her approach to her instrument and to the Sinfonia Concertante was something else - literally breathtaking.
Speaking with NZSO principal flute Bridget Douglas on the last evening of the tour, I was reminded that my first experiences of live symphonic music were NZSO concerts - when I was about five, my parents began taking my twin and I along to see the band play when they toured to our hometown, Hamilton. I remember it being a big achievement the first time Gracie and I managed to stay awake for the symphony after the interval - not just the first half. Bridget (and her hair!) is one of my strongest and earliest memories of the NZSO, and Gracie and I had posters of her on our bedroom wall. Growing up, it always seemed beyond improbable that I would ever have the chance to speak with one of the NZSO musicians - let alone tour with the orchestra!
Being a part of the 2nd violins was really special. I had the chance to sit with most of them at different concerts throughout the programme, and was inspired by their skill, dedication, and their willingness to be so welcoming to a newbie and put up with my rookie mistakes.
The past week has left me feeling encouraged to continue developing and to make heaps of progress while at the Royal College in London, in the hope that one day I'll grow up to work with such a great band and inspire the next generation of musicians as the NZSO has inspired me.
Pictured here blurry and happy after the Auckland Town Hall concert with NZSO 2nd violin boss, the irrepressible Andrew Thomson.