"I think working together with other passionate people in the positive, supportive environment the Academy provides, is really validating for everyone. The newer amateur musicians see where their hard work is leading, while the more experienced amateur musicians can weigh in on their current capabilities and are really motivated to improve…It's truly an amazing program."
Cindy Bandel, Violin Participant (Class of 2012)
"Just as last year, when I sat down on the Meyerhoff stage the night of the concert, it hit me like a ton of bricks where I was! And who I was playing with! And who was conducting! But the high point of that was when the strings began the Nimrod variation...My eyes filled with tears and I could not see my music...I came home a better player, a better musician and a better person.
"But I want to say something about the BSO Musicians. This is a very special thing that they do. I can't even begin to find the words to express my appreciation… I have spent so many years sitting in the audience, watching and listening and thinking of them as our "musician heros". To be given the opportunity to sit next to them, play and rehearse on the stage at the Meyerhoff is truly one of the best things I have experienced in my life.
"This is truly, as Marin said the night of the concert, "Fantasy Camp for Musicians"! Thank you, Marin, BSO Musicians and Academy staff! I love you all."
Lyn Banghart, Horn Participant (Class of 2011 and 2012)
"The enthusiasm of these adults is unsurpassed. You can just see the joy of learning and playing the great orchestral literature while sitting next to us. A most joyous experience for all concerned."
Ed Palanker, BSO Clarinet
"I am having "BSO WITHDRAWAL!"
I got up the next day only to realize that the Academy was over with and I won't be seeing the BSO musicians until next year. How bummed would you be if Superman let you borrow his cape, and you had to give it back and then you had to wait a year to feel like a superhero again? That's how it was playing with those guys. I miss them so much already."
Ann Marie Cordial, Viola Participant (Class of 2012)
"As a third year returner, I got a little more adventurous and [even] managed to play in the solo piano recital. Thanks to the wonderful friendly environment of the Academy, I am able to push myself out of my comfort zone and hopefully on the path to becoming a better musician."
Terri Cook, Cello Participant (Class of 2010, 2011, and 2012)
"The music on the program perfectly balanced a surprising level of challenge with achievability thanks in no small part to the skilled and committed mentoring from the Baltimore Symphony members.
The standards were high resulting in our stretching ourselves beyond what we thought was possible. I especially enjoyed the feeling of participating in something special - being part of an "event" - lead by such high caliber talents as Maestra Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra."
Karim Elmahmoudi, Bass Trombone Participant (Class of 2011 and 2012)
"I had literally not touched my bassoon for more than 15 years before participating in the Rusty Musicians' concert two years ago. I had forgotten how enjoyable, and how important a part of my life it was to play and perform music…
"My experience at the BSO Academy was truly one of the highlights of my life. I have learned so much and gained a great deal of confidence in my ability to play. I was extremely nervous at the beginning of the Academy, but the BSO musicians were so supportive and encouraging…
"One of the most enjoyable experiences was having the opportunity to listen to the concert pieces from within the orchestra. I have heard the Elgar Enigma Variations many times in the past, but performing with the orchestra on stage, I could hear inner melodies and harmonies which I had never appreciated before. The sound was glorious. It is like jumping inside of a painting or work of art you have admired for years."
Harry Kaplan, Bassoon Participant (Class of 2012)
"For me, last week was a dream come true! It was one of the most rewarding experiences not only in my career as a musician, but one of the most rewarding in my life!! So – thanks beyond words!"
Linda Thomssen, Harp Participant (Class of 2012, former violinist in Kansas City Symphony)
"The BSO Academy offers me a chance to connect with people who love music as much as I do but who haven't had the opportunity to fully develop themselves as musicians. It brings me great pleasure to guide and support them as they strive to improve their playing and enjoy working with the BSO."
Jane Marvine, BSO English Horn
"Performing with a world class symphony orchestra was on my bucket list. And I got to do it twice! This was my second academy, and one week later I am still basking in the glow. My little piccolo feet have not touched the ground yet. I am already saving up my pennies to attend next year."
Merrell Weiss, Flute Participant (Class of 2011 and 2012)
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Leadership support for the BSO Academy in 2010 through 2015 is generously provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.