Prelude to the Juilliard Orchestra

The horn section in an orchestra rehearsal
角 players Andrew Arloro, Carys Sutherland, and Sylvia Beach


For freshmen, a series of firsts marks the start of the fall semester. There is the first college move-in day, 第一个大学室友, the first time calling 林肯中心 home, and the first Juilliard Orchestra experience. As I’m a first-year horn performance major, the anticipation of joining the Juilliard Orchestra hovered above these major life events. And the first chapter of this remarkable journey began with the Juilliard Orchestra 取向, a rite of passage for all freshmen orchestral musicians.

Taking place at the beginning of the semester, Orchestra 取向 marked the commencement of our orchestral experience at Juilliard. Whether Orchestra 取向 was a student’s first or thousandth time in an orchestral setting, everyone in the room learned how to adapt and play together in our new environment. Under the baton of Jherrard Hardeman (研究生文凭 ’22, 管弦乐指挥), each rehearsal was a chance to immerse ourselves in the world of Juilliard's orchestral excellence. And by the time it was over, Room 543 had become our sanctuary as we embarked on our musical journey.

The percussion section during an orchestra rehearsal

取向 began with a series of meetings, including an enlightening seminar on injury prevention and hearing protection, underscoring the orchestra department’s dedication to the well-being of its musicians. We learned that Juilliard offers many benefits to support its students and foster strong physical and mental health.

For me, one highlight was the brass and percussion sectional with Ray Mase (faculty 1987–present). While I was initially apprehensive playing in front of my peers, my trepidation soon gave way to awe as I found myself surrounded by an incredible brass section sound and supportive peers. The horn section, in particular, stood out for me as a source of inspiration and camaraderie.

Orchestra 取向 also offered some surprises. 音乐ians from all sections from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, 纽约爱乐乐团, and the New York City Ballet sat in each rehearsal to play and listen. 我的工作室教授, 埃里克 Ralske(1980届mba), MM ’82, horn; faculty 2012–present), even sat next to me during a rehearsal. The incredible feedback we received from these artists was engaging and constructive. While each student learned something new, we were surprised to see how smoothly the integration process worked and how quickly we connected and formed as a group.

A unique perspective on auditions emerged as we sat on the other side of the screen during an audition workshop with Ralske. He spoke about training our brains and our bodies to perform at our best during auditions. It gave me a deeper understanding of the rigorous standards that define both Juilliard and the professional world beyond.

The culmination of Orchestra 取向 was a rehearsal and recording under the baton of David Robertson, 进行研究主任. This recording serves as a baseline for our class, sets the tone for four years of growth and accomplishment, and confirms that we are in the right place. I look forward to absorbing the musicality of my colleagues in future orchestra cycles, and knowing that the faculty and staff in the Orchestra Office are here to help us, I feel comfortable embracing the high standards Juilliard demands.

Orchestra 取向 introduced an incoming class of classical musicians to Juilliard. We concluded it excited to work with exceptional conductors, 磨练技艺, and witness each other’s artistic growth over the next four years. Embarking on my journey in the Juilliard Orchestra, my heart is full of gratitude as I am inspired by being surrounded by the incredible artists and friends that I now call colleagues. I’m ready to seize every opportunity to grow as an individual artist and an orchestral player, and my anticipation for what lies ahead at Juilliard is boundless.

Sylvia Beach is a first-year horn student