Gifted Students Heard Loud and Clear at Music Recital

This past Sunday, several Choate musicians had the opportunity to perform in an instrumental recital at the Paul Mellon Arts Center. An hour and a half-long affair, the recital featured several string instruments, including the violin, viola, cello, and double bass, as well as piano, flute, and a few vocalists. There was even a piece performed by Ziyan Lei ’20 that featured the yangqin, a trapezoid-shaped instrument with hundreds of strings to be struck by a pair of hammer-like beaters.

The recital got off to a good start with a captivating piano performance of “Fantasie Impromptu” from Ethan Luk ’20, a pianist who also performed later in the concert the second movement of “Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor” on the – you guessed it – violin. The first half of the recital was comprised of both solos and duets, while the second half was comprised of mainly string quartets and quintets. The music performed in this recital ranged from as early as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756) to as late as Sergei Rachmaninoff (b. 1873).

Putting in endless amounts of time and effort, the performers spent the entire fall term with their music lesson teachers mastering their pieces and perfecting their crafts. Each student spent one period a week working with their teachers on technique, focusing primarily on their pieces for this recital. The music teachers who helped these performers in preparation for the recital are all local musicians with reputed backgrounds in their fields. Two piano teachers, Susan Cheng and Sarah Kohane, assisted in the accompaniment necessary for many of these works performed.

Most importantly, the instrumental recitals put up once a term allow students to see their peers in a professional environment performing a piece so meticulously and masterfully that the fact that the musician is a high school student is forgotten. Seeing a peer in the classroom, on the athletic field, or in the dining hall is a much different experience from seeing a peer perform in a recital. Kevin Auman ’17, a pianist who performed a solo piece as well as a duet with pianist Silas Walker ’19, commented, “I love how recitals give us a chance to hear each other perform, as we don’t often get to hear each other truly perform a perfected piece. Performing is an opportunity to show what we have put so much energy and effort into for a while and to allow everyone to escape into that world of beauty and emotion that comes with the music.”

Similarly, violinist Annett Ho ’18, who played in a string quintet as well as a solo of Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor,” added, “I think of performing music in general as a way of sharing and communicating with others. I like watching and listening to other students perform because I can see and learn from the progress my peers have made.”

Term-end recitals at Choate are incredibly rewarding to both the performers and the members of the audience. A recital is an entirely different environment that most students are not used to in their everyday lives. Next time an email pops up from Mr. Yanelli regarding an upcoming recital, take a break from the seemingly interminable workload and support your classmates who have spent countless hours preparing for the performance.

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