I started 2012 in Sarasota, Florida at the Perlman Music Program's winter residency. This was a time of incredible personal growth for me. I had my first lessons with Mr. Perlman, began to ponder the direction of my future studies, met one of my closest friends, and experienced the true sense of the PMP "Littles" community love.
This photo was taken on my 22nd birthday, celebrated with my boyfriend and friends at the German sausage kitchen and beer house Wurstkuche in Los Angeles. Literally days after my birthday, I came down with one of the worst cases of the flu I've ever had--so bad that it actually traveled to my lungs and became pneumonia. I've never been that sick before in my life...spending those 2 months in bed and the subsequent months in such a weakened state taught me to be so grateful for good health.
In February, I had the chance to perform Haydn's Piano Trio in C Major, HOB 27 with pianist Robert Levin and cellist Se-Doo Park on Colburn's Chamber Music Society series. For the first three years of my undergraduate studies, I was in a very intensive piano trio coached by Ronald Leonard--we rehearsed for two hours every day, learned a ton of piano trio repertoire, performed throughout Los Angeles, and participated in the Fischoff Competition. This performance reminded me of my love for the piano trio chamber music medium, not to mention how inspiring it was to work with Robert Levin. It's always an incredible joy to work with a musician who is amazingly talented and very kind.
In March, I was accepted to the quarter-finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. I have always dreamed of participating in this competition and preparing for it was a considerable challenge--not just because of the sheer amount of repertoire required, but also because my father's health began to take a considerable turn for the worst during this time. Though I ultimately decided not to go to the competition, what I learned from the preparation was immense.
In April, my father passed away. This was and still is the biggest change I have ever had to deal with in my life thus far. He was an amazing father and, as I've come to realize more and more each day, my best friend. What I have learned about love, loss, and life from this experience continues to astound me. I still am trying to figure out what it means to live a life where he no longer exists.
Right before our graduation in May, my boyfriend and I decided to take a small road trip to Santa Barbara and Solvang in California. It was during this trip that I realized just how beautiful California is, how grateful I am for the past four years there, and how much I appreciate my relationship.
In May, I officially earned my Bachelor of Music degree from The Colburn School Conservatory of Music.
Over the summer, I participated in my third summer at the Aspen Music Festival and School. I was lucky enough to sit second chair in the Aspen Festival Orchestra (pictured above with Robert Chen, Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and Concertmaster of a baroque ensemble lead by Nicholas McGegan. This summer, in addition to being fulfilling professionally, was also incredibly healing--I had a beautiful home where I lived with my boyfriend and friends from school, filled with lots of love, laughter, and food.
I also attended my second summer at the Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, which was amazing as always. Working with such an incredible group (the cellist just won a position with the New York Philharmonic!) and wonderful coaches, not to mention the beautiful surroundings and good food, was the perfect way to cap off the summer.
At the end of the summer, I moved to my first apartment in New York City to begin my Master's degree at Juilliard. I was so excited to finally have my own space to make completely my own and I definitely value that living in New York. In addition to the obvious things, like paying your rent and utilities bills on time, living on my own has taught me a lot!
Starting at Juilliard meant a lot of new things...new teachers, new classes, new building, new policies, and learning a whole new system, from figuring out the orchestra cycles to using the post office in the mailroom. Things were a lot busier than I anticipated during my first semester--frequently, I would get to school by 9:00AM and wouldn't leave until 10:30PM. It's been exhausting, but I feel like I finally understand how things work and have somewhat settled into a routine. I also managed to win a spot on the Concertmaster roster, which I'm very excited about! I'm hoping, now that I understand things a bit better, that next semester is less crazy and a bit more balanced.
In October, I was lucky enough to participate in Juilliard's Transatlantic Music Project. The project involved one week of intensive rehearsals and coachings, as well as two performances in New York with groups comprised of students from Juilliard and the Hochschule fur Musik in Cologne. Our final performance in Paul Hall was one of my favorite performances at Juilliard thus far and I felt very grateful to work with such beautiful musicians.
On October 17, my second niece and goddaughter Juliette Rose Johns was born!
In November, I traveled to Stowe, Vermont for a 5-day residency with the Perlman Music Program. Stowe was incredibly beautiful and, as with every PMP program, I felt a renewed sense of community and love for music.
At the end of November, my boyfriend and I celebrated 4 years of being together. Moving to New York meant that, as of September, we found ourselves in a long-distance relationship. Needless to say, that transition was extremely difficult and I'm happy to say that we are managing it very well. I still miss sharing my day-to-day life, but I feel a renewed sense of appreciation whenever we visit each other.
Just about a week ago, I helped my brother propose to his girlfriend! On her birthday, we took her to the art museum steps in Philadelphia, which has the best view of the city, under the premise of taking some birthday pictures. Instead of taking a picture, I recorded my brother dropping down on one knee and completely surprising her. She said yes and I couldn't be happier to welcome her to our family.
Finally, one of the biggest things that's happened this year was being accepted into Itzhak Perlman's studio at Juilliard. I found this concerto, with his note written over it, in a stack of old music recently. It made me realize, as I do every week in lessons, how lucky I am to learn from such a true artist.
2012 was definitely an eventful year. As we approach 2013, my resolution is simply that I don't expect anything of life. I don't mean that in the negative sense, but more so that I always maintain perspective and try to remember what is ultimately important. I hope the remaining days of 2012 are happy and wish you all a very happy New Year!