A student from Spain, a member of my Wednesday “Sonata and Lieder” class at the New England Conservatory, asked me to coach him in preparation for an audition for the position of associate principal cellist of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. He played his pieces through with elegance and accuracy. It was playing of an absolutely professional standard, the kind of performance that would, I told him, gain him entry into the ranks of an orchestra. However, it lacked flair and the characteristics of true leadership—not only command of color, intensity, drive, and passion, but the energy to take people beyond where they would normally go. We started work on the pieces—I played the piano, sang, coaxed and urged him on until his rather formal restraint broke down, and he began to play from the heart and throw all his passion and energy into the soaring passages of the Dvorak Concerto. In the middle of one of his most impassioned utterances, I stopped him and said, “There, that’s it. If you play that way, they won’t be able to resist you. You will be a compelling force behind which everyone will be inspired to play their best.” He wiped the sweat from his brow and from his cello, and we retired to the kitchen for a spaghetti dinner and a bottle of good red wine. As he left the house that night, I shouted behind him, “Remember Marius, play it the second way!” “I will!” he called back.
Terrassa is a small city about an hour outside Barcelona. You’ve probably never heard of it; it is neither on the tourist map nor on the concert circuit. But if you happened to find yourself in the city on Tuesday night you would have found yourself in the midst of a BPYO love-fest of incomparable Latin intensity.
Dear Mr. Zander,
I wanted to tell you about an amazing incident that happened at my school. My classmate, Stevo, recently found out that he could not finish his last year at Concord Academy because his mother lost her job and the financial aid package could not be increased. He decided to start a GoFundMe page to raise the initial $9000 he needed to enroll for his senior year. Within a short 12 hours, over a third of our student body collected and donated this entire sum, with over 100 shares for the fundraising page in the first 4 hours. The huge rush of donations from the students made his fundraising page rise to the top of the GoFundMe page so that Stevo received money from strangers who read his story that he wrote for his page. Stevo had initially told the school that he could not continue, but now thanks to our student body coming together to help our classmate, we were able to make a miracle happen for him.
This just happened last night and reminded me so much of our own BPYO fundraising campaign. Every break, I can visibly tell how much BPYO means for everyone. It is such a special orchestra and community where we are all bonded by our deep love for classical music. Last night, as I watched the donations for Stevo pour in, I wondered why the other 2/3rds of my school decided to hold back their $10, and then also why it was so hard in the first place to raise money for a cause that we care so much about such as BPYO or education when it only takes a little from each person.
As I was walking to my first class this morning, I told my close friend about the tuition that Stevo had been able to raise overnight. She replied skeptically and also shocked, "wow I'm so surprised. I didn't think he'd be able to raise that much." I asked her why she thought so and she shrugged saying that she did not think people would be so generous about this cause since he was a more quiet presence on campus. She continued that this was also why she didn't donate - she didn't believe in the possibility of raising enough for the tuition in the first place.
It made me realize what you meant when you repeated the word "possibility" so often during our rehearsals and in your emails. The first step to any miracle is truly, as you said, to believe that it can be accomplished from the beginning. The actual accomplishing only follows this faith. I hope that as we continue in this campaigning for BPYO I can keep faith first, even before the sum is reached. I can't wait until we accomplish the goal that we have set for ourselves. I have been hearing lots of cool initiatives and ideas for fundraising from friends at orchestra and the concert this Sunday, and am excited to see them come to fruition! See you this Sunday and thank you for inspiring us ceaselessly.