This summer, CYSO Symphony Orchestra co-principal oboeist Oliver Talukder will join 100 fellow young musicians from across the country for Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. Members of NYO-USA gather in July for a 3 week residency capped by performances at Tanglewood and Carnegie Hall before embarking on a tour of Europe.
Applying for NYO takes weeks of preparation. I first applied but didn’t get in last year, and used the rejection as motivation to practice more and really refine my playing. One of the things I’m most impressed with about the program is that it’s entirely paid for. I’ve been discouraged from applying for some programs before because of the big price tags. This program breaks down that barrier and allowed me to 100% focus on practicing and getting ready for the experience.
This summer, I really look forward to being surrounded by music and just soaking in all of the different types of music and culture. Despite having great achievements, this year has been one of the most strenuous of my life. I never really believed it when people told me that junior year was going to be hard, because I really hadn’t experienced something truly “difficult” in my life. After emotional highs and lows, I know now that hard work really does pay off in the long run. After such a laborious year, I get to top it off by looking forward to one of the best summers of my life!
This summer, I really look forward to being surrounded by music and just soaking in all of the different types of music and culture.
In my excitement, I decided to interview two of my fellow CYSO Symphony Orchestra members who are also alums of NYO’s 2019 program. Bassoonist Quincey Trojanowski and trombonist Megan Martin shared their experiences and their advice for my upcoming summer.
Describe your NYO experience in one word, and why?
Quincey: Growth. Not only did I grow in ability and love for music—I grew in maturity, independence, my view of the world expanded, my heart expanded from meeting new people, and my quality-of-life even skyrocketed. Oh also, my motivation to reach and exceed my goals in life grew.
Megan: Amazing. I met so many amazing people and got to experience so many different types of music. I learned so much not only about music but about myself and who I am as a person and member of society.
What did you take away from your experience at NYO?
Quincey: I took away a greatly improved understanding of the world and the role of music within it. I took away a heightened sense of confidence and capability to take on any challenges I face.
Megan: So much!I was able to find myself and explore who I was as a musician as well as how I want to be in other aspects of my life. I was able to visit places I have never been and I was amazed by everything the world had to offer.
Do you have any advice for me when I go?
Quincey: Soak. It. In. It goes by SO fast. Enjoy the moments, and don’t rush through anything; enjoy it like your favorite piece of food. Pretty soon it will only be a memory, so live in it as much as possible.
Megan: Be confident. I came in being so nervous or scared that maybe I didn’t belong — don’t ever feel that way. You earned a spot there and I know you will thrive.
I can’t celebrate this wonderful opportunity without the constant support and encouragement from my family (especially my mom), friends, mentors, and teachers. Special thanks to my oboe teachers Xiomara Mass and Lindsay Wiley who train me to always be the best I can be and also to Maestro Tinkham for teaching me to appreciate every moment of the art.