Category Archives: Where Are They Now?

Spoiler Alert: It was wonderful

My summer with Orvieto Musica in 2016 was certainly one of the most eventful music festivals I’ve ever been to. Every element of the festival was such a pleasant experience! Honestly, where else can I find a festival that is in Italy, where I collaborate with fellow musicians, rehearse daily for eight hours, and get to be immersed in authentic Italian culture?

Ok, you might think I’m just trying to convince potential participants to join this festival or maybe you think this is some kind of marketing propaganda, but I’m not and it’s not! I’m here to tell you my impression of the experience and the whole process. (Spoiler alert: it was wonderful.)

We would share meals together, and even hang out together outside of rehearsals. This festival was a great experience and has given a lifetime of memories to me!

– Johnny Mok (OM 2016)

I’ve always wanted to go to Europe for a music festival, but often times, students in America gets caught up with the idea of attending big festivals with household names. In my case, I was given the opportunity to go to Orvieto Musica, and I jumped at the chance.

Naturally, given my personality, I instantly thought about the dollar sign–plane tickets, accommodations, travel insurance, pocket money, etc. Not to mention, I’m a cellist and all my expenses essentially doubles! So I decided to do a fundraising recital and I was fortunate to be able to raise most of the money needed to make this trip possible.

Now, the next issue was my little knowledge of the country, the language, and the culture. At first, I was a bit nervous because I’ve never traveled outside the country by myself, but fortunately Nyela Basney, the artistic director, and the entire faculty were nothing less than fantastic. Upon arrival, I was given all of the information needed for the festival. We had Italian language classes, we met with the local business owners, and we even had a few excursions planned as a group.

During the festival, the rehearsal schedule was rigorous, yet we made sure to schedule in relaxation and rest. Each day, I rehearsed for eight hours, but there was a lot of time for us to eat lunch and take a riposo (a mid-day break–why hasn’t America adopted these yet?!).

Finally, there’s the interaction between faculty and students. We would share meals together, and even hang out together outside of rehearsals. As a result, I felt more connected to my fellow musicians. Perhaps because of this connection, performances become a celebration of our progress! This festival was a great experience and has given a lifetime of memories to me!

Because of the constant rehearsal and playing, I can honestly say that my skills and craft improved drastically. I’m now off to spend eight weeks in Breckenridge, CO, performing with the National Repertory Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Topilow.

– Johnny Mok, (OM Alumnus 2016)

Unforgettable from 2015

I knew this trip was going to be special the moment my luggage hit the cobblestone pavement. We arrived to our quaint apartment with a beautiful balcony, cozy kitchen area, and a funny looking washing machine. Our apartment had two rooms of 3 girls and 3 guys. I didn’t know how soon we’d all become… Continue Reading

Music, Culture, and Self-Discovery

I studied voice performance in graduate school and I attended Orvieto Musica in between my first and second year. I was looking for a program in Italy where I could sing and practice speaking Italian; Orvieto Musica was much more. While my university education focused on opera, OM gave me the opportunity to delve into… Continue Reading