I didn't start playing orchestral music until I was in college. I was playing bass and had a bow at that point, but I was more of an owner, not so much an operator.
This was product of circumstance. None of the public schools I went to had orchestras. I had seen string instruments played live a little bit and seen maybe 2-3 orchestra concerts in my life.
Considering what I'm about to do, that last sentence seems hard to believe.
My perception of "modern music" was mostly rock music and jazz based styles. I was vaguely aware of a handful of composers, but didn't really understand their music. I just had not been around it enough.
I'll never forget the day I accidentally found a recording of The Rite of Spring online. As soon as I finished listening, I listened to the whole thing again on the spot. It absolutely blew me away. I decided that classical music or orchestral music or art music or whatever you want to call it was something that I urgently needed to pursue. That was a little less than a decade ago.
A few years after that, I went to the Pierre Monteux School in Maine to study for 6 weeks. I read more music in those 6 weeks than I ever read in my life, including The Rite. Monteux premiered the work and he eventually established a tradition of reading it at his school with all the students, every summer.
Later this week I'll finally perform this piece in its entirety with an orchestra of Lucerne Festival Alumni in Switzerland to honor Pierre Boulez under the baton of Matthias Pintscher.
This is obviously a tremendous and uniquely special honor.
On a personal level, my head is spinning. The Rite of Spring literally opened up the world to me. It took me places I never thought I could go and shed light on talents I didn't know I had. A single piece of music affected me enough to open up a decade of once in a lifetime experiences.
Here's to ten more.