Our Winter 2019 Tour to Taipei, Taiwan
Highlights from our eleven-day tour include collaborating with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra; meeting local middle and high school ensembles; and exploring the sights, food, and culture of Taipei.
Below are some of our favorite experiences!
"I learned something new about the value of my musical education – how incredible it was, that the musicians we collaborated with often didn’t speak or read much English (and I spoke no Mandarin) and yet we could both read the same score."
-Elizabeth Finkel, '21
"I usually play with the CCO, a notably smaller group than our tour orchestra, and it was so much fun to play a symphony again. I missed the thrilling power of a large orchestra. And meeting players from a world away gave me a renewed love for my instrument and music in general."
-Michael Richardson, '21
"The outreach programs were such a success. I became friends with a few of the students, we played wonderfully, and it was such an amazing experience. I didn’t have to worry about the communication barrier; music is universal. I had always thought that was such a cliche thing to say, but I experienced it first hand on this trip. It didn’t matter who spoke what language; we all read the same music on the page."
-Hsin Huei Chen, '22
"Exploring the city with other members of the orchestra was incredible. From the staggering views of the city through a gondola window to the excitingly mundane adventures of navigating the subway system, there truly was never a dull moment."
-Stephen Sansoterra, '20
"I made both friends and memories that I never expected to in my last year, and I’m incredibly grateful to the orchestra for making this trip happen. I’ll never forget drinking tea in a small Jiufen teahouse, amidst the pouring rain, laughing along with new friends."
-Newton Ni, '19
"I ended up going home not only feeling incredibly closer to those existing friends, but to dozens of new friends as well. This tour helped me get to know my classmates in a way I never could have done otherwise. I now have a true appreciation for the immense talent, dedication, and diversity that lies within this group, as well as within the other music groups we encountered abroad."
-Hannah Faulwell, '22
Reflections From Tours
Argentina Tour 2017
Colin Barber, '17
How has tour impacted me?
It’s hard to describe all the ways that tour has impacted me, but even after a couple weeks, I know that this tour has already changed my life and the lives of others. First, I came into tour only able to count on one hand the number of people that I knew in CSO. But, at the end of it all, I felt like I left Argentina with my arms full of close friends. At the same time, I knew that I was leaving behind a couple new friends in Argentina. Playing with the orchestra in Neuquén was an absolute joy in part because everyone in the Neuquén orchestra was so excited to have us there. Right after our dress rehearsal, my stand partner - who has kept in touch with me since tour - turned to me and said that she was going to miss all of us, and I realized that I was going to miss them too. For both groups, it’s difficult to put into words how special it is to be able to assemble an orchestra dedicated enough to tackle a Mahler symphony, never mind one cobbled together from two orchestras from different continents.
The concert in Neuquén is without question the most meaningful musical experience I’ve ever had. In my thirteen years of playing music, I’ve played in a number of concerts, but I’ve never had the joy of playing for a crowd that was so excited about listening to our music. In the days leading up to the performance, passers-by would ask us if we were the Americans playing in the concert on Friday. What was originally a concert gradually expanded into something of a festival, between a screen being set up in the town square, some tango dancers performing outside the concert hall before the performance, and our concert being broadcast on television. For a while, we were mini-celebrities. My eyes welled up during the applause after the fourth movement because I could see the bond of friendship we cultivated had made something magical. Tour recalled to me a line from Don McLean’s classic “American Pie.” He sings, “And I knew if I had my chance/That I could make those people dance/And maybe they’d be happy for a while.” We were given the chance, we did make them dance, and while I can’t speak for everyone from Neuquén, there wasn’t a single face in that hall that wasn’t grinning after our concert. Unforgettable is the only word that comes close to describing what it means to have been able to build such a relationship with the people of Neuquén and the musicians around me. I had no idea that I had the power to transform the people around me so profoundly through music, but now that I do, I want to play in as many things as possible. In my opinion, every musician should get the opportunity to collaborate with performers from around the world, if only so everyone can get a taste of what it means to be changed by music. So, I cannot wait for the Neuquén musicians to come to Cornell. Even if I’m not on campus for that day, I know that whoever is around will have the performance of a lifetime.
Ireland Tour 2015
Ian Doyle, Irish Folk singer and collaborative partner
I have been struggling to put into words what happened last Friday night. What I do know is that it was the most alive I have ever felt in my life. Wrapped in a blanket of sound with the amazing Cornell Orchestras, Cill E Byrne and Geoff Warner-Clayton behind me. The gifted Lorcan Byrne playing his heart out to my right and a personal hero of mine Clive Barnes to my left. With the most engaged audience I have ever had the honor of standing before I was overwhelmed, speechless and stunned.
For me the heros of the night were Conductor Chris Kim and Composer Peter Fahey. I can’t thank you both enough for the gift of your talents.
I would also like to say thanks to Seamus Redmond and all at the Wexford Opera House. Brandon Watson, Eddie Looney and Tony Mc Guire for helping out with instruments.and Matthew O Brien for guitar tech. James Bell and Johnny Francis Stewart for filming the night,and Aoife Cooney and Barry Ennis for steping in last minute to save the day.
Finally a massive thank you to Phil Hayes on sound and recording duties. This is a recording of the start of the night with an overture of "Call all the People" Composed by Peter, conducted by Chris and performed by the Cornell Orchestra. Listen loud.
Photos by Richie Tyndall
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