Diego Bacigalupe is one of the two students of Northeastern University who did a musical tour of Brazil, as a part of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. A student of computer science and computer engineering, he played the clarinet for this tour of eight cities and even had the opportunity to play his music beside Anna Federova, a world-renowned pianist. Eric Chen was the other student from NU and he played the viola.
Performing with the 100-person orchestra was a life changing experience for both of them. They performed for nine concerts over the course of two weeks through the eastern coast of Brazil. “This trip was musically fulfilling,” says Bacigalupe, “What I love about the orchestra is that our conductor doesn’t want us to play conventionally all the time. He allowed us to play with more freedom.”
For Chen, however, it was what happened off the stage that taught him more. Being his first year on the orchestra, he was struck by the interactions they had with the local Brazilians. “Many of the locals didn’t have that many instruments so people started donating their old instruments,” he said. He further elaborates on how this was not just another show where they simply went to another place and played music; they were leaving an impact on the communities that they were playing for.
Bacigalupe has been a part of the orchestra for six years now. He says how, in spite of going on four other tours before this one, it was this tour to Brazil that helped him explore and express his musical creativity to the best.
Music has different meanings for each one. To the people who play like Chen and Bacigalupe, it is a medium of expression while for the local Brazilians who listened to them, it was a peephole to a different culture.
N Malavika Mohan