In fact, several have impressive experience already. Antequera has won or placed in solo competitions in the U.S., his native Venezuela and Italy. While earning his bachelor’s degree in Colombia, Diaz did six international tours with the Colombian Youth Philharmonic and currently is a member of the Éfferus String Quartet. Pierce was a violinist for the Cincinnati Youth Concert Orchestra and the CSYO Nouveau Chamber Players, as well as a violist in the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, throughout her high school education. Still, the musical journey for all of the Fellows has mainly taken place in student ensembles or the studio.
Through the program, the Fellows will get 100-110 playing hours (including rehearsals and performances) each year with the CSO and Pops, as well as Lollipop and educational outreach concerts. Sitting among the pros already has given Curry a few “aha” moments. “I have come to realize that the refinement you hear in professionals’ playing is just constantly and diligently building a piece of music brick by brick,” he says. “It’s not magic, just hard work and working smart. That’s comforting to know, because I can do that, too.”