Illumination – Performed by the Contemporary Music Ensemble

The Contemporary Music Ensemble at Northwestern played a piece I wrote!

The concert was on May 5th, almost a month ago, so this post is a little late, but I definitely wanted to discuss the experience. I knew that I would be writing for this ensemble since around this time last year, but of course like a true college student I didn’t start working on the piece until about a month before the deadline. Turned out not to be the greatest plan since my spring was loaded with other music that I had to write for my senior recital and a reading for the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, but I managed to finish the piece and submit it in time.

The rehearsals were a great experience, as they always are, and I learned a lot – I say that for every rehearsal of my music, but it’s true! This one was a bit different, I must say, since it was the first time a major Bienen ensemble put on a work of mine at a concert. Moving up in the world! It was an absolute delight to work with conductor and friend Taichi, who shaped my piece wonderfully.

The main takeaways from the experience was not, however, during the rehearsal process. It occurred after the concert, when everyone was still milling about the concert hall. Out of nowhere, someone I had never met before came up to me and told me she “absolutely loved” the piece. As a composition student who studies in a school of music, constantly surrounded by friends, it had been a very long time since a complete stranger had told me they loved my music. It felt great, and reaffirmed the feeling that hey, maybe I can do this.

A bit afterwards, as I was congratulating Taichi, I had to fortune of finally being introduced to Maestro Yampolsky – the director of orchestras at Northwestern. He’s quite a notorious figure in the world of Bienen, and I hadn’t expected to meet him in this context, so I was quite intimidated at first (what if he hated my music?). But as it turns out, he really liked it! That was just such a nice unexpected addition to the night that once again helped lift my spirits.

Overall, I’m extremely glad I had the opportunity to write for such a great group of musicians. Here’s hoping that I get another chance next year!

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