Scheherezade | University of California – Santa Barbara Undergraduate Application Essay

My name is Scheherezade. I am about to die at the hands of a King, but if I can captivate him through my stories I might be able to stay alive for just one more night.

The orchestra drops to quiet plucking, and I take a deep breath in. I dramatically ascend the D minor scale, the sound of my bassoon resonating throughout the concert hall. I tease my audience, building suspense by never fully resolving to the top or bottom note. I add more and more to the scale as I speed up, driving the story forwards with intensity. At this point, it’s all muscle memory as the notes fly by faster than I am able to comprehend. Right before the notes seem like they are about to lose control, I slow back down and approach a resolution, developing a deceitful sense of calmness – only to be interrupted by a startling chord that sends the story back into the melody of the oboe.

My name is not Scheherezade, and I am not about to die at the hands of a king. My name is Sagada, and I am the principal bassoonist of the American Youth Philharmonic at our performance of “Scheherazade” by Rimsky-Korsakov, a symphonic suite based on the “Arabian Nights.”

Many people think of their instruments as their voice, but to me, my bassoon is more than that. A voice…

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