50 Years of Alumni: Gaby Ruiz-Colón

College(s)/University attended:
Harvard University (Class of 2016), Stanford University School of Medicine (Currently a third-year student). I spent three years between college graduation and medical school working as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

What years were you in GTCYS?
2009-2012 (graduated high school June 2012)

What skills or lessons did you learn in GTCYS that you still use today?
Learning how to work as part of a team (in this case, the cello section, or the larger Symphony orchestra) – this has been relevant in all parts of my life since my time in GTCYS, whether it was in other orchestras/ensembles in college, as a management consultant at BCG, to now working as part of a care team in the hospital. I knew that the reason why GTCYS worked is because we all prepared ahead of time and came to rehearsals ready to give our very best and learn from one another. I try to bring this same mentality to every team I work with.

In the same vein as above, the importance of diligence and practice – I distinctly remember spending my winter break of the 2010-2011 season learning the Scheherazade cello part. It was quite a challenging part, but it was so exciting to see how the hours that I poured in paid off when it all came together during rehearsals and performances. The work ethic – and expectation for excellence – that GTCYS fostered has been instrumental in my studies and work since I graduated high school.

Why do you think GTCYS is important for students now?
Throughout my life music has been such a source of comfort, strength, and joy, and students need this more than ever, especially after the incredibly isolating year and a half many of us have had. During my years in GTCYS, Monday night rehearsals were magical: it was a space where I was simultaneously pushed to be the very best cellist I could be, where I learned so much about musical technique, interpretation, and history, but also a place where I could reflect, laugh, and spend time with some incredible friends. It was such a uniquely powerful experience, and I hope that students continue to have the opportunity to grow not only as musicians, but also as people.

How does music still play a part in your life?
When I have some down time in medical school, I love to sit down and play through some solo cello music (especially the Bach Cello Suites!) or play showtunes with my friends on piano. I also continue to be an avid concertgoer (most recently had the privilege to listen to Yo Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile at Stanford’s Frost Amphitheatre!) and am excited that concert halls are slowly reopening!

What is your favorite composer or piece of music?
Can’t pick just one, but the third movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor will forever be one of my favorite pieces of music! I also love all of Sarasate’s violin pieces (especially Navarra!), Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major, and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor.

What do you hope to see from GTCYS in the next 50 years?
GTCYS was such an incredible community to me in high school and I really hope that current and future students can experience the same joy that I did every single Monday night! GTCYS has the power to connect students from different backgrounds, schools, and experiences, and I hope that GTCYS can continue to catalyze these relationships and friendships over incredible classical music.

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