Student - February 3, 2010

Finally getting to Amsterdam's Concertgebouw

Nadia Inderfurth and Esmer Jongedijk have made it at last after nerve-racking auditions. The two committee members of the Wageningen Student Choir and Orchestra Society (WSKOV) will be touring with the Dutch Student Orchestra (NSO), playing in major concert halls.

Nadia Inderfurth and Esmer Jongedijk.
Is the NSO worth putting your studies on hold for eight weeks?
Esmer, a violinist (and Molecular Life Sciences student): 'I have always worked hard precisely so I could take part in something like this. It's all downhill after this until I end up in an orchestra for old women. Everyone will want to come and see us as the concerts are of such a high standard. Normally I take part in some fiddlers' show a couple of times a year and people come to see us more as an act of charity.'

You have already had a weekend of rehearsals. What did you think of it?
Nadia, a tenor saxophonist (and Environmental Technology student): 'I was perplexed; I had never heard a first rehearsal sound so good. The conductor, Arjan Tien, is very clear. We have to pay attention to our posture and sit up straight. That looks more professional and ensures you stay alert and keep your concentration.'
Esmer: 'Some people had already mastered their parts in that one weekend, particularly the music academy students. As an amateur I am not always too bothered if I haven't got a particular melody completely right but I can't afford to be like that now.'

Is it particularly stressful playing with good musicians?
Esmer: 'Yes; I even had nightmares that I had forgotten my part. Normally I am one of the better players in student orchestras. Now I am merely average. I have been practicing nearly every day for half an hour since the rehearsal weekend in December. For the auditions I quickly got hold of a teacher in Arnhem. She helped me to plan things and also gave me self-confidence. I just need to take courage and give the high bits all I've got. But it all does cost time and money.'

How were the auditions?
Nadia: 'I didn't think I would get through. It was my first real audition; my legs were shaking. Suddenly there you are playing on your own, whereas normally you can hear an entire orchestra around you.  The other saxophonists are very good. The baritone saxophonist studies at the music academy; he is our lead saxophonist.'

What are you aiming for with the NSO?
Nadia: 'To be able to play saxophone and play classical music in a symphony orchestra - that's my passion. Unfortunately I did choose the wrong instrument for that. NSO has a high standard. This is the highest level I can get to. But I do feel a bit as if I'm not a fully-fledged member as I don't play in all the pieces.'
Esmer: 'I am also looking forward to the famous Dutch musicians who are going to come and lead our group rehearsals. You can learn such a lot from that and really raise your standard. Even so, my goal isn't to learn, it is to play in Amsterdam's famous concert hall, the Concertgebouw.'

www.nso.nl (site in Dutch).

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