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Brian Hong

Keep checking your mailboxes

March 2, 2009 at 10:39 PM

Everyone hold your breath!  We are getting into the season for college acceptance (or, God forbid, rejection) letters, and something even more important: summer festival acceptance letters! Eagerly pry open your mailboxes every day as I have been doing! 
This year I applied to two camps-Bowdoin, and one of the most prestigious chamber music camps in America, The Music Academy of the West.  I really wanted to go to the Music Academy (Held in Santa Barbara, California), because of the chance to work with the 86 year old master violinist and pedagogue, Zvi Zeitlin.  I had just met him this past December and January at a seminar in Florida, and was able to play for him and play quartets with him. He is definitely one of the best teachers in the world-he shaped my playing to a much higher level within a week. 
The reason I applied to Bowdoin was to either work with one of my current teachers, Shmuel Ashkenasi, or to work with Sergiu Schwartz, another fantastic teacher.  However, I found out on the website for Bowdoin that Professor Ashkenasi was not going to be attending, but I still waited for the letter.
One night, my mom got a call from my teacher.  She had just been on the phone for several hours with Sergiu Schwartz, who called her about me attending Bowdoin.  He wanted to give me a scholarship and wanted to work with me!  I was, of course, naturally excited, but we had to think it over.  If I went to Bowdoin, I would have to give up my application to the Music Academy.  After much discussion with several of my teachers, my mom, and my dad, we finally decided that we had to wait, because we had still not heard from the Music Academy and could not make a solid decision until we knew what was happening.  Mr. Schwartz understood and said, even though he couldn’t give me a scholarship anymore, that I could always come to study with him.  Whew!  One summer application out of the way-and it turned out well!
Only a few days later, after another uneventful trip to the mailbox, my mom got on the computer to check her email and suddenly exclaimed that I was accepted to the Music Academy.  I was pleasantly surprised; Mr. Zeitlin had invited me to come in Florida, but I was a year under the minimum age requirement.  However, I still had to think.  If I went to the Music Academy, I would be among many college kids, and some much older pre-professional players.  It would be a major challenge to try to match up to their playing in chamber music, because in reality, I’m not that fantastic a player.  Bowdoin would have fit my age group and level much better.  However, I could not pass up a chance to work with Zvi Zeitlin for a whole summer (June thru August).  It was decided-I was to go to Santa Barbara this summer for 8 weeks.
Since I am under the age requirement, my mom will have to accompany me and we will have to rent a house or condo this summer.  That will be no problem, however, (or minimal problems-my brother is heading off to college next year), as the Music Academy is well funded and offers full scholarships to all of their alumni.  I must say, I am incredibly excited to be attending this wonderful music festival this summer!  I will most likely be the player there with the most to learn, but it will be a fantastic experience!
So everyone, keep checking your mailboxes and emails!  Good luck on all your camps, and to all your seniors, your colleges!

From Paul Grant
Posted on March 3, 2009 at 9:17 AM

That is GREAT news! Go to MUSIC ACADEMY OF THE WEST!!! You will be surrounded by world class musicians and it will give you a glimpse of what the classical music world is like from the adult perspective. I'm sure you would gain a great deal of growth musically from spending time in Santa Barbara.


Good luck to you. 

From Drew Lecher
Posted on March 4, 2009 at 4:51 AM


Soak up all the experience and knowledge you can.

God bless, D.

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