It’s been ten whole years since we’ve heard from alum Andrew Roitstein, a bassist who played on Show 051 in Lenox, Massachusetts alongside his twin brother, flutist Matthew Roitstein.
These days Andrew lives in New York and plays with another From the Top alum, violinist Pala Garcia (Show 068 in Portland, Oregon), in the Toomai String Quintet, the resident string ensemble for Carnegie Hall’s Music Connections program. Through this program, the group plays in hospitals, community centers, and even correctional facilities. They are currently the Ensemble in Residence at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.
“We are working with Jacobi staff to create a ‘musical hospital’,” said Andrew. “We are searching for ways that we can make not only an emotional, but also medical impact through our music.” Andrew’s work with the music hospital is similar to the arts leadership project of another radio show alum. This year violinist Caeli Smith founded Rayos de Canción (Rays of Music) to raise awareness about the power of music to facilitate healing. She traveled to Guatemala with several Juilliard students to put her work into action – read about it on our map!
Andrew has been a substitute for the New York and Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestras, but a large part of his career is spent working with young people. He is part of the faculty at the New York Philharmonic’s School Partnership Program and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, helping public school elementary students perform, compose, and see great classical music. Andrew’s work with children was greatly inspired by his time on From the Top, which he said really set an example.
“As a professional musician looking back on my experience with From the Top, I think the show really demonstrates how much of a difference one meaningful, high-quality musical encounter can make on a young person,” said Andrew. “Now that I work with young people, I strive to instill that same sense of empowerment in them, whether I am playing an interactive concert, teaching a lesson, or getting a group of Brooklyn public school 3rd graders ready to watch their first NY Philharmonic concert.”