CMPI currently has 18 fellows who participate in a Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra ensemble. This summer, the CYSO Symphony Orchestra went on a European tour to Berlin, Leipzig, Prague, and Vienna. CMPI horn fellow Elena Miller sat down with Student Navigator Becca Dora to reflect on the highlights of the tour, how the experience affects her outlook on music, and her favorite European eats!
What cities/countries did you visit while on tour?
We landed in Munich, and then took another flight to Berlin. Throughout the course of the tour, we traveled to Leipzig (Germany), Prague (Czechia), and Vienna (Austria).
What repertoire did you perform?
We had a lot of repertoire! We performed Mahler Symphony No. 1, Barber’s First Essay for Orchestra, Op.12, and we got to premier a piece by Bernard Rand called AURA. Additionally, we performed Bernstein’s Overture to West Side Story, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, and Copland’s Hoedown.
What are some highlights of your trip?
It was amazing to see how many people attended each concert and how outwardly happy they were to see us. Our concert in Leipzig was a full house!
During our free time, I enjoyed exploring each city we traveled to. In Vienna, there is music EVERYWHERE!! While walking around, I found a random music store that had tons of repertoire for sale. Most of my souvenir money was spent at that store.
What was something you wish you knew beforehand?
I wish I knew more of the language. In some ways, I’m glad I didn’t have too many preconceived notions about what Europe would be like, because I was able to be open to the whole experience.
How did this experience change the way you think about music/having a career in music?
In Europe, music is more appreciated than in the United States. Based on this experience, the way I interpret music has shifted; I’m now able to view my musical choices through the lens of a European audience.
Any advice for traveling to Europe?
The culture of Europe and of each respective country is amazing. It is also a lot easier to make your way around each city/country than you might expect, as the cities are largely walkable and there are more public transportation options than in the US.
Lastly, what was your favorite food you were able to try?
That’s difficult because I enjoyed all of the food in Europe! There was a pasta bake I had in Halle that was particularly amazing.