Rice students compete for chance to play with New York Philharmonic

Seven Rice University students are competing for a chance to play with the New York Philharmonic.

HOUSTON - Some Rice University students are getting the chance of a lifetime. They competed for a chance to play with the world renowned New York Philharmonic.

On Monday, the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra gave Brahms' 1st Symphony in C Minor life. The piece dates to 1854 and Muchen Hsieh was on first violin.

"I love having an audience, I love performing," she said after doing just that in front of musicians from the one of the world's most famous orchestras, the New York Philharmonic.

Hsieh and others got to play alongside them and others watched the Rice students with a special eye from the audience.

"Everything they said makes sense and it helps us tremendously with our sound," she added. Hsieh is one of seven students selected to the orchestra's Global Academy.

"This is akin for a young musician to the dream job," said Robert Yekovich, dean of the Shepherd School of Music. "It's at the finest institution in your profession in the US and possibly in the world.

The program takes place for about a week in New York in May 2016.

"They will have this immersive experience," said Matthew Van Beisen, president of the New York Philharmonic. "They will work, they will rehearse, they will perform, they will study alongside NY philharmonic musicians in a very intensive way."

Auditions were held with the group and also in private sessions.

"It was a little nerve-racking," said Hsieh, who had her auditions also on Monday. "You don't see who's behind the screen and all they say is Mozart please, like Brahms please."

The Philharmonic could've taken up to eight students and this year it's only string players; but this is just the first year of a multi-year partnership.

"This will probably be my first, real life orchestral experience in a big city, the big apple with this world class orchestra which would be so much to learn," said Hsieh, who has played before at Carnegie Hall. "There's so much to absorb and to learn from all of the musicians there."

Now she'll get to absorb from an orchestra nearly as old as this Brahms piece.


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