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String Teacher Workshops

SAW Cellist with National Youth Orchestra: Kartik Papatla

This past summer, Kartik Papatla, String Academy student of Scott Cook, was chosen by national audition to participate in the National Youth Orchestra.  Beyond being the only student selected from the state of Wisconsin, Kartik was also chosen to sit as assistant principal cello. Congratulations to Kartik on your accomplishments!  Below is a brief description, in Kartik’s words, of his experience.

This summer, I had the experience of a lifetime. I traveled the world, played great music, and met extraordinary people. As a member of the cello section of Carnegie Hall’s first-ever National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, I gathered with young musicians aged 16 to 19 and toured New York, Washington, D.C., Moscow, St. Petersburg, and London to perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 with Joshua Bell as violin soloist and Maestro Valery Gergiev as conductor.

The program began with a rigorous two-week training program at Purchase College in New York in preparation for the arrival of Maestro Gergiev and Joshua Bell. During the residency, we worked with James Ross, a conducting faculty member at the Juilliard School and the University of Maryland, and with principal players from the country’s best orchestras. The cello section’s coach was John Sharp, Principal Cellist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In the first week of the residency, I divided my time between working in small sectionals with the rest of the cello section, in large sectionals with the string players of the orchestra, and in full orchestra rehearsals. In the second week, I spent the majority of my time in full orchestra rehearsals. By the end of the residency, we were ready to begin our work with Maestro Gergiev and Joshua Bell before embarking on our concert tour. In addition to rehearsals, I also had the opportunity to engage in a number of workshops related to Russian culture, the history of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky, and the improvement of practice and performance methods. These non-musical activities were eye opening and were taught by experts who specialized in those fields.

Over the duration of the tour, we performed in five concerts. In New York, we gave our send-off concert at Purchase College and followed with concerts at the Kennedy Center in D.C, the Moscow Conservatory in Moscow, the Mariinsky II in St. Petersburg, and, finally, Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms in London. Besides performing in these amazing venues, what made the experience even more unique was that each concert we gave exceeded the last in the musicality demonstrated and our ability to work together as an orchestra to give the best interpretation of the music that we could. Performing at the Proms for an audience of thousands was a truly exceptional experience. As I told Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, the Proms concert was one of the largest but quietest audiences I’ve ever performed for. I could feel the silent energy of the audience fueling our performance and that’s what I believe makes the BBC Proms stand out as a music festival.

In addition to being a member of the orchestra, I was in a sextet that performed with a few other chamber ensembles at the Russian Embassy in D.C. and at the Bloomberg offices in London. At the Embassy, we performed for a number of dignitaries, including the Russian Ambassador to the United States, as well as Maestro Gergiev. I thoroughly enjoyed this chamber music opportunity as a chance to work with and get to know some of my peers on a more intimate level.

The NYO experience is one that I will remember for the rest of my life. Not only did I have remarkable opportunities to perform, but I also developed friendships that will last my entire lifetime. The experience has confirmed for me that no matter what path I take, music will always be a part of my life.

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Video of the NYS performing on BBC with Josh Bell at the Proms: http://youtu.be/1CLE4kY5n-k

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