Students finds opportunity to travel through passion for music

By: Eric Shen,  A&S Ambassadors
Mon, 03/30/2020

This column was written before our current remote learning model, so while Eric isn't on campus enjoying creating music with his peers, he is working remotely on his musical pursuits and other classes.

As a senior, I've wrapped things up with my major and will spend my last semester pursuing the things I really enjoy. Looking back at what I've done, I think that music has been the biggest and most important influence on my undergrad experience.

Chamber music and orchestra have really been central to my time here in balancing my schedule and taking my mind off of schoolwork. Usually my days are filled with lecture after lecture after lab after lab, so by the time it’s all done, I’m more than ready for a change of pace. Music just really helps me unwind and it really helps that everyone else is coming in from a long day too. The ensembles here aren’t limited by major, so you’ll get to interact with students and faculty from countless backgrounds, who all have a common interest to make music. 

These groups have become my family in these past few years through all of the travels, performances and time spent together. Because I have rigorous majors, it became difficult to study abroad, but music and performance have given me opportunities to travel. I’ve been able to explore and perform in Argentina and Taiwan with the orchestra so far and am more than grateful to have seen these countries from the perspective of a musician. Many of the department ensembles travel around the state or country to compete and perform, and all of these experiences let us experience the stage as a professional while still pursuing the countless fields of studies outside of music.

Over the summer, I got the chance to play with the MIT Summer Philharmonic, which is a Boston community orchestra made up of graduate students and professionals in the area. The music was fun and great, and I ran into Cornell alumni participating in the orchestra and in attendance at our concert. I think that music will have a lasting impact by providing a community where I can continue making music no matter which school or city I'm in.

I know that each passion and pursuit has its own community at Cornell that extends out into the world. Anyone who has an interest is sure to find a place they belong and support their growth beyond the classroom.


  orchestra practicing