The Ambassadors’ Exchange: ‘Wishful Playing,’ an Ambassadors Playlist

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The Ambassadors’ Exchange: ‘Wishful Playing,’ an Ambassadors Playlist


This month, the Ambassadors shared the repertoires that we’ve each played in our respective programs. We also mused about pieces we would love to play someday and new genres that our ensembles could incorporate into their yearly programming. In doing so, we curated a playlist titled “Wishful Playing”—comprising the songs and musical works we dream of performing one day.

Listen to “Wishful Playing” on Spotify.

Read about some of the song choices below, and listen to the playlists from 2020 and 2021 here.

Brianna Herrera (Philadelphia, U.S.)

Whether as a part of a quartet or an orchestra, I would love to play “El Tango de Roxanne” from Moulin Rouge! I may be biased as Moulin Rouge! is my favorite movie, but the raw and eerie emotion performed by both singers and musicians will always give me goosebumps. Both the movie and musical adaptations are gorgeous, and for now I can only dream of how I will sound during the violin solo.

Speaking of movies, exploring film scores has become a favorite recent pastime of mine. Of the many I’ve checked out, I truly believe that the How to Train Your Dragon score is a masterpiece. The piece “Test Drive” is beautiful, as is the entire movie. I grew up watching the series, and it has been eye-opening to dissect and experience it in a new light through music. To play the piece in an orchestra or hear it live would carry so much more emotion than listening to a recording.

Nicolas Lau (California, U.S.)

I would love to play one of the Star Wars theme songs that make me feel like I’m acting in the movie while the orchestra plays. I want to experience a sense of battle and love, but with my violin. Thus, my choice would be “Across the Stars (Love Theme from Star Wars: Episode ll).”

Amelie Jansen (New Zealand)

I would like to play something very pretty and emotion-provoking, or a jazz piece. We have a jazz band at Sistema Whangarei, but I am not currently part of it. So, for something pretty, I’d like to play “Ave Maria” by Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra.

Melis Erselçan (Turkey)

I am interested in symphonic rock, so “Hysteria” by Muse would be my song. I’d like to play more of this kind of music in my orchestra. Muse takes their own inspiration from classical music, and even though they use electronic and rock music, I still think we could still arrange their songs as orchestral pieces. I think it would be amazing, actually; we could use cellos and double basses for the main melody, the lyrics could go with violins, and then woodwinds and brass could play the chorus.

Vadim Fong (New Zealand)

My piece is Symphony No. 1 in D minor (“The Gothic”) by Havergal Brian. This piece has piqued my curiosity ever since I discovered it through YouTube. The work is one of the biggest in music history, clocking in at around 110 minutes and calling for an orchestra numbering in the hundreds. The opportunity to play with that many people would be amazing, and it would be the piece’s first performance in my country.

Juan Florez (Florida, U.S.)

My song is “En Barranquilla Me Quedo” by Joe Arroyo. It is representative of the rhythmic and melodic elements common in Colombian music and has been a staple of the culture since it was released. It is also representative of the improvisational nature of Latin music overall, demonstrating how the genre is not necessarily confined within the lines of Western music theory.

May Thet Htarr “Molly” (Myanmar)

I would love to play Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem.” Composed in 1791, the piece was composed by Mozart on his deathbed. It wasn’t even fully composed when he passed; composer Franz Sussmayr combined the parts and completed it. Through this piece, I’ve felt so many of the emotions that Mozart tried to convey during his final moments. It gives me the sense that he had finally realized the important parts in life. This piece makes me feel content and grateful for the little things, accepting of what comes my way, and more deeply connected to life itself. I think it’s the little things that we always forget to appreciate.

The lyrics are Latin and an extract of it translates to:

What dread there will be
When the Judge shall come
To judge all things strictly.

A trumpet, spreading a wondrous sound
Through the graves of all lands,
Will drive mankind before the throne.

Death and Nature shall be astonished
When all creation rises again
To answer to the Judge.

This piece also comes with singers and an orchestra, so it’s doable for my program where we have both an orchestra and a choir.

Axelle Miel (Philippines)

One of the things on my bucket list is to someday play for a movie soundtrack or a ballet. I started watching ballet performances online during the pandemic, and the first one that drew me in was Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. I think that the experience of being in the pit for a work such as this would be a dream come true.

Tamara Castillo (Utah, USA)

I would love to play in the pit for an opera—more specifically for La Traviata, which was the very first opera I ever saw. I fell in love with it immediately, and this piece is one of the most memorable and nostalgic. I don’t just love the music but the story as well, so I think it would be a magical experience for me.

Phantom of the Opera has been a personal favorite of mine as far back as I can remember, and the music is a main reason for that. I love the feeling of playing with a professional orchestra, where everyone is passionate and plays (most of the time) together as one. It’s a surreal, almost indescribable feeling. And it would be an even greater honor to play in the pit.

As you can tell, operas are a favorite of mine. But I also love musical theatre and movie soundtracks. This is only a small taste of what I love musically.

Esteban Molina (Colombia)

Con mi programa me encantaría tocar y conocer más música de ballet, en este caso elegí Estancias, una de mis obras favoritas del compositor latinoamericano Alberto Ginastera, por sus hermosas melodías que serían geniales de explorar y sus ritmos latinos presentes que contrastan.

Y como músico individual me encantaría tocar el concierto para clarinete de Carl Nielsen, una pieza un poco fuera de lo común pero que me ha cautivado siempre siendo mi favorita del instrumento que interpretó, además de ser una de las obras que de joven me puse como meta tocar y siempre que lo recuerda me da alegría y una motivación gigante.

With my program, I would love to play and know more ballet music. For this playlist, I chose “Estancias,” one of my favorite works from the Latin American composer Alberto Ginastera. I chose this for the beautiful melodies and contrasting Latin rhythms that would be great to explore.

As an individual musician, I would love to play Carl Nielsen’s clarinet concerto, a captivating, uncommon piece that continues to be my favorite to play. It’s one of the works that has kept me going since I was younger and looking back on it gives me happiness and great motivation.


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