Nathaniel Meyer was thinking – as everyone who had heard the news – about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and how the heartbreaking event connects to the work he is conducting Saturday afternoon, Dec. 29: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.
"[The fifth symphony] is a piece that deals with the movement of the human spirit from a place of tragedy to a place of triumph. I didn't really know that this piece would take on such meaning for me but we all heard about the [shooting] in Connecticut so there is no way I can play this piece without thinking about about those events," said Meyer.
"I can't speak for everyone but [the tragic event] will definitely be on my mind," said Meyer.
Meyer will conduct the Belmont Festival Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s great symphony at a free public concert that begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29 at the Beech Street Center.
"It's like the Eroica (Beethoven's Third Symphony) that we performed last winter; it can stand on its own from the beginning to the end," said Meyer.
The Festival Orchestra – which Meyer has been its musical director and conductor since its founding in 2010 when he was 19 – consists of freelancers, friends of Meyer and graduates and current members of the Boston Youth Symphony.
"We had some holes in the orchestra because of logistics but people are coming together, the violins are playing louder so I think we will have everything in place for the concert," said Meyer.
Meyer, a 2009 Belmont High graduate, is in his senior year at Yale University studying German literature and music. He finished his senior thesis this past semester on Gustav Mahler's conducting.
Currently Meyer is the assistant conductor of the Yale Symphony and has studied conducting abroad. After graduating, Meyer hopes to be moving back to Boston to begin his professional music career both as a musician (he plays trumpet) and conductor.