FORT WORTH, Texas — When you go backstage at the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra it can be intense, as each musician feels the pressure to uphold an international reputation.
Imagine that feeling for the symphony's youngest musician, principal bassoonist, 24-year-old Joshua Elmore.
This is Elmore' first full-time job as a musician with the orchestra. His love of music is something that runs in the family.
"My mother played music throughout school," Elmore said. "Most of my family did. My uncle was a very theatrical guy."
Elmore started early too, not knowing one day he would almost be in a class by himself as a young African American bassoon player, among so much talent.
"Being the youngest person, I think, you know, you're surrounded by people that have been in the orchestra some of them longer than you've been alive," he said.
Elmore's fellow symphony musicians have taken him under their wings. He is constantly learning from his colleagues.
But despite the support, Elmore has had challenges answering his own questions about his love for classical music.
"And you're like, 'Do I really fit into this space? Do I really belong here?'" he said. "I think my biggest challenge as a musician definitely is the lack of representation and not really seeing myself portrayed back in me from the stage.
That lack of representation is changing. There's more Black history being made at the symphony.
For the next two years, Elmore's guest principal conductor will be Kevin John Edusei.
Edusei opened up about his music history, family talent and when he fell in love with classical music.
"That's a long time ago," Edusei said. "I come from a musical. Musical family. Classical music, and particularly, I always have played a very important role in our family life."
Edusei's visit to Fort Worth in September 2020 resulted in a Texas-sized offer of a lifetime. Now, the Munich, Germany resident will travel back and forth for two years to serve as the 2022-23 guest principal conductor, connecting with the audience and the Fort Worth orchestra.
Edusei's goal while on stage is to marry the components of a performance to make it an unforgettable experience for everyone.
"There is this whole model between the orchestra, a composer, a conductor, the musicians and the audience," Edusei said. "There's a magic bond."
It's a magic bond he'll also create with Elmore.
"Kevin is incredible. He is an incredible conductor," Elmore said. "He originally friended me on Facebook probably a couple of months ago, and just reached out to me and introduced himself. So, that was cool."
For an up and coming bassoonist, it's almost as cool as the two making music and history in Fort Worth together.