Thursday, July 25, 2013

7 Jul 2013: The Festival Competition

Wienner Musikverein.

On 7 July 2013 (Sun), it was the moment that our orchestra has been working towards for. Hours, weeks and months that have been spent on good practising have been put in so that each of us can do our very best to perform in Vienna's magnificent Wiener Musikverein. The National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra was taking part in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival Competition 2013 in Vienna.

The concert hall, the Wiener Musikverein, contains the world-famous Golden Hall. It is the centre of Viennese musical culture. It is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world.

If there is a prize that I was hoping to secure, it will be the opportunity to play music in this world-famous Golden Hall. I am thankful that I have done so, and this shall be my prize.

Before the festival competition, our orchestra had a rehearsal in the morning. The most exciting part about making music is the act of surrendering to whatever music that may be produced. There is an uncertainty of what will really happen during the actual performance although we may have some clues. Even during rehearsal, I cannot exactly imagine how we would sound during the competition. I could at best use the rehearsals to prepare myself mentally, emotionally, physically and so forth.

Many thanks for the loan of double basses.

Loading the instruments up and down the bus took some effort and it was all worthwhile. When our orchestra reached Wiener Musikverein, there was a representative from the festival who welcomed our orchestra, and directed us according to the respective holding areas to wait for our turn to perform for the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival Competition. While moving the instruments, I had some opportunities to get to know the festival representative who was in charge of our group. She has been very helpful to allow us to feel at ease while waiting for our turn to perform.

It was only a matter of less than a few hours that our orchestra had spent at Wiener Musikverein yet the entire experience there felt like memories that would last for eternity. Perhaps I was having positive memories of the entire experience despite feeling a bit anxious, though it was soon eased, while waiting for our turn to perform for the competition.

It was a pleasant surprise to meet a fellow double bassist, YR, at Wiener Musikverein. He happened to be in Vienna to take a flight back to Singapore and he came by to watch the competition upon realizing that he has friends taking part in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival 2013. Many thanks to YR for lending a double bass stopper to one of the double bass players in our orchestra.

The moment came for us to perform. Perhaps playing music is like making an offering with love (for music)? That was how I had felt then. The acoustics of Wiener Musikverein is remarkable. I could hear my playing on the double bass well. By the end of our performance, I sensed that the members of the audience and the jury have been touched by the music that we have performed. Somehow, the favourite appeared to be "Dance of the Yao".

Wiener Musikverein.
Courtesy of Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival 2013.

I felt thankful that there were several friends and family members of a few of the orchestra members who were present to support us. Their encouragements and support mean a lot for us performers in a foreign land.

After we have presented our performance at the festival competition, our orchestra was given the opportunity to discreetly be seated in the audience seats to listen to the performance by another orchestra. I had the privilege to do so after I have kept the double bass that I was using and load it up the bus. These are the behind-the-scene work that many would not have known. If you had been listening to the festival competition that day, I hope you were not surprised to find an empty seat next to you surprisingly being taken up by a double bassist without her instrument in her hand!

When it was time to pack the remaining instruments to leave Wiener Musikverein, the members of our orchestra must have fallen deeply in love with Wiener Musikverein and Vienna itself that we were taking countless number of photographs at the location to capture our moments of excitement and zeal. To document that our orchestra has taken part in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival, our orchestra took a group photograph at the front of Wiener Muskikverein. This shall be a memory to last for a lifetime.

Photo courtesy of Terence Low.
Musikvereinsplatz 1
1010 Vienna

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