Then: Paul played violin in the Classical Symphony, Junior Symphony, and Youth Symphony from 2006-2011.
Now: Paul is now the second violin for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
What was challenging and inspiring to you about your coaches and conductors at that time?
My first year in the Youth Symphony, we were working on Mahler’s 1st Symphony with Christian Knapp who was the Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony and our interim Music director at the time. There is a gorgeous section in the third movement where the music is very free and out of tempo. As a result, the orchestra was having difficulty understanding the concept no matter how many times we tried. Yet, Maestro Knapp persisted until there was this magical moment when everything clicked and the entire room was following his baton. After the sound dissipated, it left me only wanting more. My dream to be an orchestral musician began while playing under his baton and I have him to thank for showing me the first tastes of how magical a life in music can be.
How did your training with SYSO influence your development as a professional musician?
Going into a conservatory setting, I felt that the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra had given me a head start in my orchestral proficiency. The Youth Symphony rehearses very thoroughly, which has now become a bit of a luxury, but I feel like the repertoire that we performed during my time with SYSO is much easier to relearn when I get the chance to perform them again.
What are a few of your favorite memories of your time with SYSO?
Actually, just today (Today meaning 11/14) the Nashville Symphony had the pleasure of working alongside Aaron Jay Kernis for our Composer Lab & Workshop. I found him during our rehearsal break to ask if he remembered conducting Too Hot Toccata with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra. I distinctly remember that performance being my first encounter with contemporary music many years ago and I was pleased to know that he remembered that occasion as well.
What are your goals for your work at the Nashville Symphony?
As of now, I am primarily focused on trying to be the best musician possible and match the musicianship of my other colleagues in the Nashville Symphony. As I settle in to my new environment, I want to have as many chances as possible to give back to the wonderful community that supports our organization.
What advice would you give to the young SYSO musicians playing in our current season?
It’s never too early to use a metronome. I regret being lazy about it as a high school student.
Anything else you would like us to know?
Come see the Nashville Symphony!