Updated: Aug 19, 2020
One of the first times I heard West Side Story referenced was by my music theory teacher when I was a freshman in high school. We were learning about intervals, and he gave us little tunes to help us memorize and identify each one. For the tritone, the tune was the infamous "Maria" from West Side Story. Little did I know what a lasting impression that song, and later, the musical, would leave on me.
When I was seventeen years old, I had the honor of performing Leonard Bernstein's score from West Side Story with the Eastern Music Festival orchestra in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was both terrifying and magical. Terrifying, because this score is hard. If you've ever seen the music or attempted to play it, you know that there are dozens of difficult passages that send the violins into the dizzying stratosphere that is fifth position and beyond. And magical, well, it was the experience of a lifetime. Lofty runs, swift arpeggios, soaring melodic lines - Bernstein gives us all of the heartstring-tugging moments, and to play it with an orchestra filled with such skilled young musicians was truly a gift.
I hope that this cover gives you a taste of that magic, and I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed performing it for you.