— Noted.

Swan Lake & the NY Philharmonic.

I am lucky. My uncle has been a season ticket holder to the New York Philharmonic for as long as I have been a New Yorker (if not much longer than that) and whenever he can’t make a concert or needs someone to go with, I’m often on the short list.

When I was a child, my mom used to drag me and my brother to the Jacksonville Symphony, namely to see my brother’s cello teacher who was the first chair cellist. This cello teacher was such a quiet character in our lives, but he was very important to us, in ways that I wish we had a chance to thank him for. That’s besides the point though, as I mainly wanted to recount how much we hated being dragged to these concerts. It was equivalent to being dragged to Korean church on Sundays, where we couldn’t understand a word of the Korean pastor, and our only option was to listen to headphones wired into the seats that were the voice of my own father translating the sermons into English in live time from a tiny sound-proof booth in the back of the church.

As adults, something has happened to us. Neither of us really play our instruments anymore, but I think I can confidently speak for us both when I say that we really love the New York Philharmonic and classical music in general. I have mom to thank for it.

Last week, my mom and I went to the first concert of 2015 and conductor Alan Gilbert came out and spoke from a little notebook. He said they had curated the songs for the night with thoughts of the new year, wanting joyful music, which was challenging when so many terrible things are happening around the world.

He quoted the words of Leonard Bernstein, “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

They played a few selections from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, which were stirring and beautiful. It left me hopeful.

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