‘Música, Maestro!’ A Semester of Musical Exploration with Sinfonia

January 17, 2024
Gina Arnau '26

Before coming to Princeton, I was worried about the uncertainty of my musical journey after high-school. Would I be able to take lessons? Would I definitely need to abandon music? These questions didn’t stop me from bringing my beloved flute to campus though. And I don’t regret that decision. As soon as I stepped on campus, I was immediately surrounded by endless opportunities to continue pursuing my passion for music. For instance, thanks to Princeton’s music department, I have had the opportunity to take free individual flute lessons with Dr. Shin (the best professor I have had in my career.)  Princeton University boasts a rich musical landscape with a wide range of ensembles and performance opportunities. The campus echoes with the sounds of various genres: chamber music, jazz ensembles, bands… the options are endless, allowing students to continually expand our horizons.


Being a member of Princeton University’s Sinfonia Orchestra has been one of the highlights of my musical experience. Whether it is performing Dvroak’s 8th Symphony to in Richardson Auditorium or practicing Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” in the Lewis Center for the Arts, I have found myself immersed in a vibrant community that resonated with passion, camaraderie, and boundless musical exploration. I have also found some of my closest friends in Sinfonia. 


One of the most captivating aspects of my time with Sinfonia has been the opportunity to explore a rich tapestry of music styles. From the classical brilliance of Mozart to the enchantment of our own students’ compositions, each piece we played brought new challenges and joys. It's a musical kaleidoscope that allows us to stretch our artistic boundaries and appreciate the beauty of diverse compositions. Additionally, I had the chance to perform alongside my flute professor. Playing Mozart's flute concerto under her guidance was not only an honor but a testament to the mentorship and collaborative spirit that defines Sinfonia. These experiences transcend the classroom, providing an enriched learning environment that extends beyond the notes on the score. Sinfonia has provided me with a sanctuary where I can momentarily disconnect from academics. The rehearsals are a space where I can immerse myself in the language of music, sharing an unspoken bond that transcends words. It's a collective exploration of self-expression, where I learn more about myself and my peers through the universal language of music.


Through the weekly rehearsals, concerts, the occasional pizza parties, and the post-rehearsal snacks that have become our unofficial tradition, Sinfonia has evolved into something more than just an orchestra for me. Beyond the musical scores, the shared jokes, the highs and lows of tackling challenging pieces, and the collective joy after a successful performance have made Sinfonia a welcoming family of diverse musicians and music enthusiasts and an integral part of my college experience.