Senior Nicholas Gallitano is standing at the ready, his viola balanced on his shoulder. He takes his time, making sure the instrument is tuned just right and that no string is pulled too taut. When he plays, the notes are clear and piercing. For Gallitano, playing the viola is not merely a chore or extra work; it is his passion.
Currently part of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the New England Conservatory and the Brookline High School Orchestra, Gallitano has performed all around the world.
“I don’t play a sport actively, I like school and I work my best but this is just something else that I can put my heart into and pursue as a passion,” Gallitano said.
Senior Gerald Karni, a friend and fellow violist, has gone on numerous tours with Gallitano.
“We played a final concert with the orchestra tour in Amsterdam. We played in one of the best halls in the world and I got to share that with him. I’m glad I did,” Karni said.
For Gallitano, seeing the impact his music has on others is one of the most gratifying aspects of playing the viola.
“A lot of people, you don’t know what they’re going through in their life,” Gallitano said. “I played in a recital at a nursing home last year and a lot of the people there were old, and a lot of them had an illness or they didn’t have as much joy in their everyday life. I had somebody come up to me afterwards and say that they really enjoyed seeing me play the viola so well. It was just really great for me to see that I was directly making somebody’s day a little bit better.”
According to Karni, Gallitano’s love for the viola extends past the thrill of performing into a desire to share his passion with others.
“Because of viola, he has been able to work with little kids who don’t have that privilege.” Karni said. “He taught them how to play music and he’s gone and played in nursing homes for people who don’t experience that. He’s definitely helped a lot with his instrument.”
Motivated by his ability to help others through this medium, Gallitano has been cultivating his talent since he began in second grade.
“There was always music around the house.” Gallitano said. “I would see my sister practicing piano or my dad would play the piano in evenings when he got home from work. So it was definitely natural for me to start music.”
Gallitano’s mother, Margaret Talmers, has watched him throughout his musical career.
“From my perspective, it’s been really fun to watch him pursue something he loves,” Talmers said. “He’s engaged with the process of making music. It’s just really fun to watch that develop. Just like all the things that you learn in school and in your life as you’re growing, it’s helped him develop into a terrific young man.”
To get to this point of success, Gallitano has devoted immense amounts of time, prioritizing music over sports and an active social life. But for Gallitano, these sacrifices are worth it, and ever since he started, it has been an indispensable aspect of his life.
“On our tour to Holland we played at this church, and then afterwards the people of the town had a reception for us.” Gallitano said. “We were just talking to all these people and they were all so grateful and welcoming for us coming there and sharing music with them. They were all so kind and we felt so grateful to be there.”
Sasha Saias can be contacted at [email protected]