Unfinished Symphony

You have already told us about yourself in the Common Application, with its list of activities, the Short Answer, and the Personal Statement. While we leave the topic of your second essay entirely up to you, we encourage you to use this opportunity to tell us something that we could not learn from the rest of your application. Try to pick a topic that will convey some aspect of your experience or outlook that you would like us to understand better.


I play the B.

A small square office, no more than ten feet wide, holds two upright mahogany pianos sitting back-to-back. The metronome marks the beat, ta-ta-ta-ta, first 100 beats per minute, then 105, 110, working toward 120. The door is closed, the hall empty. It is a sunny Saturday afternoon; some Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) participants are playing ultimate Frisbee on West lawn, others are attending the square dancing seminar, but four pianists are practicing the opening chord of Schubert’s "Unfinished Symphony" for the first time on two Yamahas.

It is not just any "Unfinished Symphony"; it is my "Unfinished Symphony".

Or so I thought.

Jessica joins in with the F.

Two days before Dr. Indergaard had announced to us, “We will be holding a concert at the end of six weeks. I need you to submit the ensemble pieces you will be performing.” I thought back to my solo debuts, to bowing to a sea of thunderous applause, to striding toward the stage to receive my trophy, to forgetting the entire development section due to uncontrollable anxiety. I had become accustomed to playing alone, earning distinctions alone, accepting failures alone. The only time I had performed in an ensemble was with my teacher,...

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