Michael Soule :: Walgreens National Concerto Competition

Michael Soule

Michael Soule (MYA Alum ’01)
2001 MYA Senior Division, cello
Schelomo - Ernest Bloch

College: Brown

What are you doing now? Do you still play your instrument?
I am taking a research year between my 3rd and 4th years at Yale Medical School. I am doing health systems research on the treatment of HIV and tuberculosis in intravenous drug users in Ukraine as well as studying drug treatment in United States prisons and jails. I still play with classmates. We organized a chamber concert for charity our second year in which we performed quartets, duets, and solos.

What do you remember most about the competition?
The exhilaration of sitting down alone with the orchestra at my back, facing only the audience.

Who helped you prepare for the competition?
Finding a piece that I felt deeply about was the key and my teacher, Hans Jensen and my mom both helped me dig into how to express the rich range of emotions I felt while playing Schelomo. This inspiration made practicing the technical elements more bearable because I finally realized how important it is to have the technical aspects of a piece under my fingers before I could really explore the emotions of the piece.

What is your advice for participants in the 15th Annual Walgreens Concerto Competition?
Go to sleep envisioning yourself playing the piece. It's an excellent memory technique. Always be imagining yourself playing. Practice until your fingers know where the next note is but don't forget the story. Also, you will always feel good playing a piece that you love. Even if you don't win, the experience of becoming so familiar with a great piece will always stay with you.