Reflections on Legacy

It’s not every day that you meet a new group of people and immediately feel a familial warmth and comfort as they invite you in, all smiles, to their cozy storefront home.

Sure enough, it happened on the first day I walked into rehearsal with A Far Cry for the Legacy program. I was nervous but excited about joining the Criers for this program, especially being invited to join the illustrious Pamela Frank as a soloist in Vivaldi’s concerto for four violins. But as soon as we tuned up and began reading Haydn’s “Trauer” Symphony, I knew it was going to be amazing.

Throughout the week, I got to know the Criers and their stories. Rehearsal breaks were always a lively opportunity to talk to someone new and try a homemade brownie. I observed the Criers seamlessly transition between productive rehearsal mode and relaxed social mode. I had a heartwarming conversation with Karen, who happens to be a Toronto native like myself!

I asked a lot of questions. I got to try some of the Criers’ instruments. I got a 20 minute consultation session with Howard about my posture, and did a spontaneous short video for the concert livestream. I learned how to express a musical idea in the most eloquent and positive tone of voice. I adopted Karl’s catchy way of saying ‘cool’ when the group agreed on something.  

What was perhaps most inspiring was simply hanging out with this dynamic and passionate group, not so much older than I am, doing incredible things in and outside of A Far Cry. Some members are baroque performance practice experts, others maintain active teaching studios, AND they have cool hobbies and beautiful families.

Being on the border of conservatory student and full time professional, I’m asking the ‘big’ questions about my profession and my contribution to the classical music community. (ex. Why did I choose to do this for life, and what unique values am I bringing into this industry? What makes my music worth listening to, and why should people be excited about classical music in 2019?) Getting to talk about the birth of AFC, of what it took to make them such a successful group both on and off-stage, gave me tons of bright ideas. Playing with the group gave me lots of answers.

It was truly a privilege to work with such thoughtful, respectful and uplifting personalities. From the get go, I felt like I could express myself through the music as freely and passionately as possible. The floor was open to individual ideas, which found their way to integrate into one cohesive musical interpretation. A Far Cry is a model of leadership, musical excellence and creativity, and I want to thank them once again for having me!

Sophia Szokolay

Sophia is an NEC Fellow for the 2018-2019 season