First year at NEC

I woke up this morning, no construction noises, remembered summer vacation was actually a thing ..

This pas semester was very taxing , emotionally, not so much academically. I am on the Dean's List, and managed to premiere a new piece every month through NEC's Tuesday Night New Music Concert Series or other venues. I finished my first song cycle for piano and voice, wrote for brass for the first time (rough...) and was commissioned my first harp piece which was premiered in Toronto by my best friend Clara Wang at the Royal Conservatory of Music .



 with Clara, in April after the harp piece premiere // the infamous UNOs cookie sunday on my 19th birthday

The reason why I say that my second semester was taxing emotionally is because I am preparing to go back to Cambodia for the first time after 4 years away. I am not sure how to feel about the trip and if Cambodia will be able to accept me - or the other way around, me accepting Cambodia, as a changed artist and woman. On top of that, the frustration with writer's block and the teacher I am working with. I applied for a studio teacher change, and will be studying with Ken Schaphorst (head of jazz studies) and Michael Gandolfi (head of composition studies). The two men have a wonderful track record of mentoring their students and hopefully I will be able to feel more at ease working with them. My previous teacher was very nice but I think our musical styles eventually got the best of us. 


with my roommate Rae, on Valentine's Day getting donuts 


A lot was happening in my personal life too, and there were days where I wished I could stay under my covers and sleep my life away but thankfully, good friends dragged me out and fed me food. Stress tends to cut my appetite and throw my sleep schedule off track. I am looking forward to summer - but I am not sure what to look for and I am scared of it. Most of my friends are going to these amazing summer programs. I am attending this small but intense workshop on a full ride in Cambodia with Dr. Chinary Ung. It is not Aspen or Bowdoin. I don't feel ready to attend these programs hence my reticence, but can't help but feel that I am missing out on an essential "American music education" experience. I don't feel that this is the path I want to follow as a composer - yet.





catching up with highschool friends: Graham and Chris // Charles at the Upper Crust Pizzeria, highly recommend ! 


I look back at my year and think of a few things I could have done better. I definitely should have studied for my music history final (still got an A in the class). I am grateful I pushed myself to present new music every month but maybe could have managed my sleep schedule better. I should care less about people who take me for granted. But, overall, I think I liked my year a lot, despite the rough start. 

I absolutely loathed NEC at first, and I figured out if I kept myself busy with work, I could ignore how bitter and lonely I was. It only alienated me more, and added to the feeling of distress that I wasn't able to connect with the musicians around me. However, as the year went on, I slowly  chose to trust those around me enough to open up. I found some of the kindest, most open-minded, supportive, talented and inspiring artists to be surrounded by and work with. I am still learning how to separate solitude from loneliness and am curious to see how the following years at NEC will shape me and redefine how I interact with the world. I am grateful for teachers who have mentored me through my first year, and I hope these are individuals I can look up to the next three years.

Thank you to everyone who has been so patient with me, from NEC or outside, see you in the Fall or for our graduates, hope our paths will cross in the coming years!

- Bosba


Boston in one picture: birds overlook soggy bagel