Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy”, Yale School of Music, Yale College
What years were you in GTCYS?
I was a member of GTCYS from 1989-1993 and graduated from high school in 1993.
What skills or lessons did you learn in GTCYS that you still use today?
I learned what it means to be a good orchestral musician in GTCYS, paying attention to and listening to the other instruments, while playing my own part to the best of my ability. I also learned the value of discipline in my everyday activities. The discipline to practice my part sufficiently before rehearsal. The discipline to maintain the tempo with the conductor and the rest of the orchestra. The discipline to express myself in a controlled manner.
Why do you think GTCYS is important for students now?
I believe GTCYS is more important for students now than ever before, because making music together is one of the last areas of creative expression which only works in a real-time analog setting. The pandemic has taught us to be flexible and to work with many digital mediums, yet it also forced us to realize how special and irreplaceable it is to be able to make music with other people in the same room. The social dynamics of an orchestra reflect many situations which we face in everyday life. Learning to become a good orchestral player ultimately leads to learning what it means to become a good citizen. And in our increasingly complex world, it is more important than ever that we train and develop as many good citizens as possible.
How does music still play a part in your life?
I am very fortunate that music still plays a central role in my life. As a professional conductor living and working in Germany, I have made my dream my reality. As the music director of several orchestras, including two amazing youth orchestras, I essentially continue to enjoy the musical magic of performing with young talented musicians every single day!
What is your favorite composer or piece of music?
I love and appreciate all kinds of music. I especially enjoy discovering new kinds of music which challenge me and my musical background. Yet ever since I was a member of GTCYS, throughout the years, I always come back to the symphonies of Gustav Mahler. For me, he has captured the immense spectrum of human life, from the harsh grotesque tragedies to the sublime beauty which nature and life around us offers, all within the medium of symphonic music. His symphonies were a life-changing discovery for me at age 15, and even after knowing and studying this music for over 30 years, I am still amazed and moved by its universal power and strength.
What’s a fun fact about yourself?
In high school I played both guitar and violin in a rock band named “Frammelstasitz”.
What do you hope to see from GTCYS in the next 50 years?
I hope to see GTCYS continue to train thousands of talented young musicians to learn the value of orchestral music and develop into model citizens in our world. I hope that GTCYS will not only continue to uphold the tradition of classical orchestra music, but also innovate and evolve with humanity to maintain musical expression as an important aspect of human life.