Prelude to an Afternoon in Prague
My journey to becoming a musician has taken me to unexpected, unforgettable places. Being a performing artist is a huge commitment that comes with rewarding experiences, but especially while traveling to auditions or performances, I’ve ended up warming up or practicing in less-than-ideal places. I’ve found myself playing everywhere from Carnegie Hall to an amusement park in Copenhagen to an airport bathroom in Detroit. One of the most memorable places music has taken me is this gorgeous hall in Prague:
This past summer, I found myself onstage alone, savoring a few moments in which I had Smetana Hall to myself before the audience started filing in. The first piece of the program was Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. The flute solo that opens the piece is one of the most well-known orchestral flute solos, notorious for its exposed nature. It requires an incredible amount of control, musicality, and stability.
This was my last concert with the orchestra I was performing in, and I would be playing the first notes that the audience would hear that evening. Conflicted by a mixture of nervousness, excitement, nostalgia, and wonder, I snuck onstage to “test out” the acoustics of the hall. I could barely concentrate, though; Smetana Hall is adorned with sculptures, paintings, and beautiful intricacies that set it apart from other concert halls. It was somewhere I had dreamed of visiting, and it was surreal to think that in a few minutes I actually would be performing onstage.
I can’t even remember how the Debussy went, now that I think about it. Just being in that hall, sitting on the stage where some of the world’s greatest music had been performed, was so humbling and inspiring in itself. Sharing the stage with some of my closest friends and hearing the music that we all created together was nothing short of magical.