This is my third time doing chamber ensemble at WashU. I’ve always loved the concept of chamber; you’re not completely stricken with the responsibility of being a soloist, but you have a unique part in the piece that gives you both time to support your teammates and time to shine on your own.
This year, however, is the first time that I was able to participate in a masterclass at WashU. The masterclass took place at a rather time of day (right in the middle of the day, at 3:00) — but it was such a great opportunity that I knew I had to miss some of my art class for it (and believe it or not; that day, my class was canceled!).
I’m very glad I did. The masterclass was led by the Jasper String Quartet — an award-winning, professional ensemble who have musicians from Rice and Yale and resided in the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory. The fact that such renowned musicians were standing on the same stage as me, watching me play, was both nerve-wracking and exciting. I’ll admit that the pressure got to my performance a bit; however, that did not faze the quartet musicians as they carefully critiqued and affirmed the details of our playing.
The Jasper String Quartet showed us just how detail-oriented and passionate professional musicians are. Within the span of the masterclass, we got through about two lines of our entire song. Much of the time was spent with the musicians building upon our group’s teamwork and fine-tuning one note at a time.
Though I was slightly relieved when it was all over, I was also in awe at the new experience. Joining chamber ensemble had simply been a decision to give myself something enjoyable once a week; I hadn’t expected that it would have provided me with a completely novel experience!
(Photo provided by the artists – https://music.wustl.edu/events/jasper-string-quartet)