There’s a certain thrill I feel while writing this letter to you. In many ways, it’s no different than the mixture of excitement, anxiety and curiosity I felt when I first began playing in orchestra at the age of 8. I think I speak for most of the musicians out there reading this when I say that a very tangible rush travels through our mind and body we feel when we sit amongst fellow musicians and began to explore some of the world’s music greatest music.
However, this passion is not solely derived from the notes on the page, no matter how transcendent they may be. The allure of music is directly linked to the magic of collaboration. Music does not exist without the human touch. Each of you contribute to this partnership, no matter if you’re sitting in the orchestra or the audience. To be truthful,
without this connection, art cannot thrive.
For the vast majority of you, I am a ‘new face’ amongst an organization whose legacy extends back to my own time as a young musician living in Fayetteville. As I step into the role of Music Director of the Ozark Philharmonic Youth Orchestras, I do so with full knowledge that I am continuing a tradition that has been upheld by the esteemed artistic leadership that has come before me. With that in mind, I would like to take a moment to tell you more about myself, and what I believe I can contribute to OPYO.
My journey through music begin with the violin. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to ‘grow up’ in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, a network of five performing ensembles which provided unforgettable opportunities to all musicians involved. By the time I graduated from high school, I had the opportunity to participate in two orchestral tours of Europe. Playing the music of Dvorak in the hall where many of his premieres occurred - creating a sacred moment of solemnity and beauty with Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings in the oldest church in Leipzig, Germany - these experiences helped cement my love for music and my determination to pursue it as a career path.
I soon realized that my love of music, while grounded in violin performance,
extended beyond this instrument. After completing a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Arkansas in Violin Performance, I continued my conducting and composition studies in New York and London, culminating in a Master of Music in Composition degree from the Royal College of Music. I am infinitely grateful for the life changing
artistic experiences I have had. I would not be the musician I am today without them.
I mention my personal history as an artist in order to underscore what is, perhaps, my primary motivation for assuming this position. To create unforgettable music with each of you. Experience is meant to be shared, and all musical experience I have gained throughout the decades of my music career is a commodity that I intend to give back to each and everyone involved in the OPYO as much as I am able. I am also quite aware that I will be learning an equal amount from all of you. This is collaboration at its finest.
We are poised to embark on a journey which I am absolutely confident will be life changing for each us, including myself. Alongside our new Orchestra Manager, Sandy Nieves, our newly appointed Presto Orchestra conductor Dan Mays, as well as the ever inspiring Jenny Castillo, I am planning a year of performances and experiences that will allow the OPYO to chart a bold direction forward. I look forward to meeting each of you, and could not be more honored to take the podium amongst such a magnificent group of
individuals. Thank you very much for this opportunity.