Looking back on a year at the CSO

Today marks my one-year anniversary at my job. The good news is that in terms of what I have learned, it feels I have been at the job over a year, and in terms of time, it feels I have been there just three months. The best news is that I love what I do.

I remember the first concert I attended as an employee. I felt amazingly proud to sit in the audience, knowing that I was going to contribute to all that I was seeing on the stage. I still feel that way; the music is the culmination of everyone’s hard work. My first concert was the innovative Beyond the Score concert with Daniel Harding in Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben. A year later, I have seen 39 concerts performed by 6 different orchestras, of which 34 concerts were performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

There have been many other memorable experiences and concerts in my one year of employment. Just a handful include: going to the WFMT studios with David Robertson in one of my first months; getting my first couple of press clippings; the Concertgebouw Orchestra visiting; Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in Neruda Songs; Daniel Barenboim’s farewell residency, the three Ninths, and all the surrounding media frenzy; kicking off Silk Road Chicago and meeting Yo-Yo Ma; Charlie Vernon’s premiere of Lindberg’s trombone concerto and the accompanying New York Times piece; and meeting the Dutch Ambassador and Bernard Haitink in his first concert as principal conductor just last month.

Working in seasons means there are certain things and events that are repeated, which means that I have now completed a full circle and those things should be easier (and better, the pressure’s on!). But the new year will never be like the previous and some interesting experiences will undoubtedly arise.

Looking to the future, I am certainly not done learning on the job yet. One year is not enough to grasp classical music, non-profit administration, and public relations in all their glory and complexities. I am not sure what, if any, number of years would be enough. And I am slowly abandoning the idea of graduate school—unless the ideal situation comes along—but I would still like to pursue more education in whatever form that may present itself.

As I have been here one year, my boss Synneve Carlino, who has been here ten years, has taken the job as head of public relations for Carnegie Hall in New York. The reason why I have learned more than a year’s worth of public relations in one year of work has much to do with her. I am very sad to see her leave, but I am tremendously excited for her and her new employer who is getting someone truly extraordinary.

And lastly, if you have not done so already, please vote today.