In this article I am following April's advice and writing/documenting my conducting career, thus manifesting my future success. This series serves as a preview of my autobiography, focusing primarily on my work as a conductor.

Upon my graduation, it felt like studying at Juilliard and living in New York were inevitable. So I left my live-in babysitting job in Philly, packed up my little Subaru, and drove to my new live-in babysitting job on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

After I graduated from Juilliard, I was on my own when it came to finding places to practice. I had a small upright piano in my little apartment, but I couldn’t really develop the nuance required for a full size 9-foot concert grand.

Armed with a master’s degree from Juilliard, I assumed the next step for me was to establish myself in Europe. When the United States Ambassador to France learned that I was flying to Europe, he invited me to give a concert at the American Embassy in Paris.

While I was still enrolled at Juilliard I had applied to compete in several international piano competitions, but my applications were not being accepted.

The winter following my Vienna debut with the Chicago Sinfonietta, the same concert agent who booked the gig for me at Vienna’s Musikverein invited me to give a concert in Munich as part of an international piano festival.

I had an opportunity to spend some time in Prague, the city of Antonin Dvořák, the Czech composer who utilized melodies of Negro Spirituals in his Symphony from the New World. I always thought of him as a guardian spirit so hopefully he would guide my steps in his homeland.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this condensed, G-rated version of portions of my autobiography. For the juicy details of my romantic life, you’ll have to wait for the book and maybe the R-rated film and maybe the television series. Stay tuned…

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Nina Kennedy is available for orchestral engagements, solo recitals, spoken-word performances, and lectures.  

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