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Blog

Don Quixote with the Juilliard Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin!

Nathan Chan

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This past April, I had the amazing opportunity to perform Richard Strauss' "Don Quixote" with the Juilliard Orchestra. I learnt so much for this project. It gave me a chance to tackle a whole different type of solo repertoire in that it totally broke down my preconceived notion of the role of a soloist. This piece is unique in that the music is not only an emotional medium, but an actual intent to tell a story.

I was lucky enough to have begun this process having already read Cervantes' incredible novel as a student at Columbia University. The story itself is quite wild! It tells the adventure of our hero Don Quixote and his loyal sidekick Sancho Panza. It's an emotional roller coaster, but this fact was not emphasized until realizing it during the learning process of the musical work.

To help me in this aspect, I had the wonderful mentorship of the music director of the Detroit Symphony, Leonard Slatkin. What an amazing fellow. He was not only kind and caring, but incredibly supportive as well. With his assistance, and with my amazing solo violist and friend from Juilliard, Andrew Gonzalez, we partook in an incredible music making experience in Alice Tully Hall.