a few last words
Before the concert on Saturday, a few of us YWPers were given the unique opportunity to interview two of the ECCO musicians. This is my reflection of our conversation with Nayoung, a cellist who performed at elley-long.
"I fell in love" she said, with the sounds of an orchestra working together. with the layers of a symphony weaved into conglomerative beauty. Nayoung was born in South Korea where she began to play the cello at age ten, a rather late start for somebody who became a professional performer. She bounced between several instruments before settling on the cello, having delved into the worlds of piano & violin. "I didn't have much of an identity as an artist," she told us. "Until I was much older. I just played what my teacher placed in front of me. I didn't realize that I could pick other pieces." When Nayoung was 16, she travelled to the U.S. to study at a music school for talented youth. she lived with her older sister in an appartment in Philidelphia, Pennsylvania and simultaneously attended a local public school. "My English wasn't very good then," she admitted, "I started to just write down everything my teachers said phonetically in Korean, then I would get home & look everything up in a dictionary." She was literally lost in a sea of strange speech and confusion, but she remained tied to her classmates by another language. When all that made sense were the notes on the score, her cello became her focus; her priority; her future. Nayoung assured us that she eventually accustomed. Now, 15 years later, her English is outstanding- her accent barely noticeable. But the cello is still her solace.
She told us about the instruments with which she'd been able to play over the years. "when I get used to an instrument; when I play it for a few weeks, but then have to give it back, I get very emotional." We asked her if she could feel the difference between her own cello & others, she explained that instruments are like people, each with a different feel & sound. She can't remember the first piece she fell in love with, but she can remember the first sound. The first time she sat in an orchestra as part of a whole & played her simple bowstroke that would blend with the other cellos, the violins, the violas, & oboes & trumpets & trombones & clarinets, the way strokes accumulate into art, or colours come together to make light.