MIDORI | Letter to Midori from Ana Calles, a 17-year old Participant in the Winston Salem, N.C. Orchestra Residencies Program
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Letter to Midori from Ana Calles, a 17-year old Participant in the Winston Salem, N.C. Orchestra Residencies Program

In May 2007, as part of the Orchestra Residencies Program, Midori spent five days in Winston-Salem North Carolina, working with the Winston-Salem Symphony and Youth orchestras and performing four different works, alone and with student soloists. One of the soloists was Ana Calles.

In his review, Ken Keuffel of the Winston-Salem Journal wrote, “Midori, a virtuoso violinist with few peers, shared the solo spotlight with Ana Calles, 17, the concertmaster of the Winston-Salem Youth Symphony. … For Calles, rubbing elbows with Midori in public must have seemed like a daunting prospect. But she rose to the occasion … The two violinists captured the bubbly, highly rhythmic qualities of the finale [of the Bach Concerto in D minor for Two Violins] in a way that made shoes tap (lightly) on floors.”

Ana subsequently wrote a letter to Midori, which she has kindly given us permission to publish on this website.

Dear Midori,

When you came to Winston-Salem my life changed. I never really understood what music was or what it meant to me – it was just something that had been part of my life since I was eight. You showed me the beauty in it and how everyone, including my own friends who despised classical music, could appreciate its grace, depth, and comfort. Though I know this sounds superficial, I used to be self-conscious about the violin. Everyone used to criticize me and call me an “orchestra nerd.” But these concerts changed everything. For the first time, my friends realized that the violin isn’t a boring, superficial instrument. It stands behind a culture, rich in musical and artistic expression, unlike anything else they had ever experienced. Sunday and Tuesday nights we shared with them the beauty of music written centuries ago.

I remember sitting backstage Sunday night reading a letter my dad wrote me. In it he said that music is a universal language, one that speaks to all regardless of race, sex, or wealth. When I performed with you I felt that we created music that touched every single person in the audience; professionals, children, teenagers, elders, and musicians alike. For the first time in my life, I felt a true connection with the audience, orchestra, and music. Being onstage was an incredible feeling, smiling while the audience gave us a standing ovation felt incredible, and walking offstage while everyone congratulated us are the memories that will remain in my heart and will be the ones I recount countless times to my grandchildren.

I thank you for giving me a reason to create music. I play now because I love it – I love the way I can make the audience feel different emotions with the slightest touch of the bow. Music will always be a part of me, whether or not I choose to pursue a career (though I have to admit . I am strongly considering a Music major along with a Biology major). I envision myself fifty years from now, in retirement, picking up the violin and playing the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor and forgetting about the troubles and worries that life brings. I see music as my escape from reality, a place where I can truly express and be myself. The fact that people are willing to accept my music and formulate their own emotions makes it even more amazing.

Thank you for devoting a week to broadening our music community, especially in the youth. To see such an amazing, virtuoso violinist perform right before my eyes is brilliant – but even more so is your willingness to perform with the Youth Symphony. While you were playing the cadenza in the first movement of the Mozart concerto, I looked around at my peers and saw their reverent expressions. It was then that I realized that music is created to be shared and appreciated. To be able to play and be talented is one thing, but to be able to share, teach, and spread the talent is the definition of a true artist. Midori, you are amazing and all that you did for Winston-Salem will never be forgotten. Thank you so much and know that you are always welcome!

Love always,

Ana Calles

For more information on Midori’s Orchestra Residencies Program


Photos: Allen Aycock