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April 27, 2022

Noseda Returns to DCYOP

By Sandy Choi, Community Engagement and Digital Media Manager

Gianandrea Noseda, Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra, conducts members of the Youth Orchestra. (photo: Dylan Singleton)

Last month, DCYOP celebrated a true highlight of the season: the long-awaited return visit from acclaimed conductor Gianandrea Noseda, Music Director of DC’s own National Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Noesda visited program last month to conduct our Youth Orchestra in a rehearsal and participate in a Q&A with them. It was the third time the Maestro has come to conduct at DCYOP, the most recent time being back in February 2020 just before the pandemic brought everything to a halt. Maestro Noseda’s return provided an opportunity for the entire program to celebrate the enduring commitment and resilience of our students through two long years.

“He brings such joy and inspiration,” said Evan Ross Solomon, DCYOP’s Artistic and Music Director. “Our students just really, really enjoy working with him and feeling the positive musical energy that he brings with him.”

Just as Maestro Noseda led the advanced symphonic orchestra in an insightful rehearsal of an iconic work (Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5) during his last visit, he once again brought his extensive knowledge and expertise to bear in another beloved standard, Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 (“Unfinished”).

Liberty Kessler, a member of the first violin section, remembers Noseda’s last visit well. “When I learned he was coming here again, I was very excited…He’s able to make it fun for us while setting boundaries for what he expects of us and pushing us as a conductor. A lot of it is him allowing us to interpret it in our way and use our technique to interpret it differently rather than telling us what technique to do…I think that’s one thing that I enjoy about his conducting.”

For Amalia Levitin, a flutist who just joined DCYOP for the first time this season, the experience was equally thrilling. “It was really cool and eye-opening how he paid attention to all these little details that I had never even thought of before and really made the music come alive.”

In the Q&A that followed a reading of the first movement of the Schubert, Maestro Noseda shared his musical journey to becoming a conductor with the students as well as his thoughts on the lifelong value of studying music.

For Austin Adaranijo, a horn player and Pathways scholar, learning that the Maestro’s career path was driven by his deep love of music, and not necessarily conducting, was inspiring. “Somebody asked what inspired him to become a conductor. He said that he didn’t want to be at first, he just wanted to see music from different perspectives. I thought that was pretty cool.”

When asked about his inspiration, Maestro Noseda shared, “It seems an easy answer but it’s the love for the music and the conviction that the music has a language (with) the power to bring people together. Music is a big teacher for me (in learning) how to serve others more than serving myself. It’s not about me.”

Maestro Solomon perhaps best summed up what made this opportunity so meaningful for everyone in the orchestra that day. “We all try to transcend our instruments, transcend ourselves as individuals to be part of something greater, which is serving the music. One of the things he said is to imagine the music and do whatever is possible to then create that music. And that’s really what it’s all about with performing, to get past the technical limitations of instruments and be part of something magical, spiritual even. And that’s what making great music is. It’s amazing that a maestro can come in and help our students recognize this.”

Even beyond great music-making, Maestro Noseda emphasized the influential and uplifting role music can play in anyone’s life, no matter what path they may choose to follow. “Just the fact that music is part of your life, that is incredibly important. Because you know, music, when there are very joyful and happy moments, helps the joy to be even more complete. When there are difficult moments, the music can really…console you and to motivate you to build a different way of society. So, continue. Because to have music in your life is one of the greatest friends you can ever make.”

Watch the YouTube video below to see highlights of Maestro Noseda’s rehearsal and Q&A with our Youth Orchestra.

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