After seven years of serving as President of the Board and Executive Director of The Chelsea Symphony, I am honored to pass the torch of leadership and am incredibly excited to see the organization grow in years to come. Violinist Stephen McDougall Graham is moving from Vice President to take up the mantle as interim Executive Director to steer TCS forward.
This group of musicians and friends has been both wonderful and essential for me. It has been a privilege to be involved with our slice of musical life in NYC, to take part in some incredible opportunities, and to have a hand in its evolution.
I am looking forward to remaining involved as a musician (look for me in the horn section!) but if you’ll indulge me, here are a few of my favorite things when it comes to TCS:
Soloing with Jessica Santiago on Michael Boyman's Double Concerto for Two Horns and Winds, March 2020 (last concert before lockdown)
Everyone who is there really wants to be there.
This is what I was told about TCS by a fellow NYC hornist when I was looking for a group to play with after having moved to the city (many moons ago, now - time flies when you’re having fun). I soon came to realize how true this was and what a rare and special thing it is to find.
Earthfest at the American Museum of Natural History, April 2018
Opportunity meets organization
You want to bring an orchestra to Rikers Island for a tv shoot and live performance of Turangalila Symphony in the middle of August?
How about an Earth Day performance of Become Ocean (with the composer in attendance!) under the whale at the American Museum of Natural History?
You say you want an orchestra for a pop band’s livestream for hundreds of thousands of viewers?
Okay, okay - it was an incredible amount of work but it was all WORTH IT. And it applies not just to these standout examples but also to making music during our regular season. What has always been incredible to me is the collective spirit with which we handle all of our opportunities and make sure we prioritize our people along with the artistic output. Truly, this is the reason why TCS is so special. And wow - we’ve had a lot of fun along the way!
Recording 'OK Overture' for AJR's OK Orchestra livestream album release at Sony Hall, March 2021
Our TCS family
To have a life in music is already a gift in itself - to have a group of people on whom you can count as your musical family is extraordinary. The shared experience of artistic creation and output is what helps sustain us individually and as a society. And even when we had to hit pause, it was members of this family that joined me in the TCS antiracist book club which has been running continuously for a year now to do the work to learn, and to do better - together.
TCS board in January 2020: EJ Lee, Emily Wong (me), Christine Todd, Alicia Furey, Sara Dudley, Matt Aubin, Mark Seto (not pictured: Stephen McDougall Graham)
And now, whether you are a performer or an audience member - we are all moving through the re-entry into performances and a return to gathering together safely.
I am honored to be able to watch the spirit of innovation, artistry, and collegiality continue to grow and want to thank all of you for being a part of this journey with me.
So it's happy trails for now but I'll see you real soon from within the horn section at a future concert!