Note: This is an essay I wrote for and submitted to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The prompt was to pick a photograph of something or someone that is important to you and explain why.
The mornings begin on an A.
Out of the confusion—the cold fingers and the visible breath, the hurried breakfast and the cacophony of ninety instruments being tuned and prepared all at once—comes an echoing silence, and then the single oboe’s crystalline A.
The music of an orchestral concert begins with the tuning, when the musicians stop and match their pitches so that even if later in the performance the violins are raging at the cellos, and the brass are battling the woodwinds, both their harmony and dissonance is by mutual consent.
Early summer mornings at the Interlochen Center for the Arts find me walking to the cluster of practice huts blending with the trees, just past where the orchestras rehearse. As I sit at my piano, I hear Beethoven’s “Pathétique” Sonata mingling with the gravelly resonance of a double bass, and farther off a violin singing Bach’s Chaconne. As June turns to July, I am able to trace pieces to faces, and my own melody becomes a familiar color in the rich tapestry of sound. But there is more than just music evolving in Interlochen’s woods.