The old jokes goes, “How do get to Carnegie Hall? Practice,” and it looks like a lot of practice is going to propel Lambert High School junior beyond just New York’s famed venue.
Oboist Hannah Lee was one of just three Georgia students to be selected for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States, which will play at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood in Boston and a European tour with stops in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany.
“I’m really nervous about it actually, the quality of these halls is sort of incomparable,” Lee said. “It’s kind of crazy; it’s like my dream come true. Everyone knows about Carnegie Hall, so it’s just amazing to think that I’ll actually be there.”
Lee said the orchestra will be touring during a popular timeframe for classical music festivals, but before that will spend three weeks getting to know each other and their instructors in a training residency under professional orchestra musicians.
“It’s kind of insane,” Lee said of the process. “I really could not believe it when I first found out I was accepted. I was sort of in shock for a while. They have really amazing people coming in to help us. For the oboists, they have Richard Woodhams, who recently retired, but he was the principal oboe in the Philadelphia Orchestra.”
Between now and leaving for the trip in July, Lee said she is working on making handmade reeds for the instrument and practicing with her private instructor, a member of the Atlanta Symphony, while awaiting her part assignments for the orchestra.
In addition to the NYO, Lee is a member of Lambert’s concert band, the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and in the Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra.
“It’s really great to be able to be in a community where I can meet a lot of people because it’s difficult in high school to find people, especially for full orchestra … who I can share my enjoyment of classical music with,” she said. “Being in these youth orchestras, they’ve really given me a community of people who have really encouraged me to develop as a musician, and playing with other people in a full orchestra, that’s really a great learning experience.”
While music is the main focus of the trip, Lee said she is hoping to use the experience as a chance to check out some of the sights and tastes along the way.
“I haven’t gotten an itinerary yet, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to see more of the culture a little bit outside of classical music as well, maybe catch a Broadway show,” Lee said. “I know that I’ll definitely be enjoying all the food I get to try.”