UCSB student Victoria Gray has been studying at King’s College London for the entire academic year. And one of the highlights of her year abroad? Playing for her Host University’s symphony orchestra.
I started playing viola in 4th grade, and even though it’s not my major, music has been a constant presence in my life ever since, from youth symphonies to music camp to chamber music. Having played in the orchestra at every school I’ve attended from elementary school to UCSB, I couldn’t imagine simply not playing during my year abroad. I brought my viola with me, hoping to find an orchestra to perform with while here in London. I was lucky enough to secure a spot in the King’s College London Symphony Orchestra (KCLSO) after auditioning at the start of my term here, and have since played three concerts with KCLSO.
Playing in KCLSO has been an incredible way to fully immerse myself into my host university while participating in something I love. It was also fun to see the differences in something even as international and universal as classical music, as I’ve learned that what I grew up knowing to be half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes are minims, crotchets and quavers here in England. I’ve been fortunate enough to play lots of fun repertoire, like Beethoven’s 5th and Copland’s Appalachian Spring and have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a member of KCLSO.