The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Young Musicians’ Competition

From Hackley’s Zetkov to Bergen County Academies flow the delicate notes of Brahms’ A Major Piano Quartet, First Movement. Starting in both clarity and precision, Hackley senior musicians Aniketh Arvind, Jad Benslimane, Rowan Pedraza, and Talia Tirschwell combine their talents to ascend through the rounds of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Young Musicians Competition.

This competition, hosted by the Young Musicians Program, is a crucible in which high school musicians are set to brandish their musical gifts in concerts. The Chamber Music Society produces the concerts at regional-level venues which lead to the majestic Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall. Since 1998, the competition has been a staple showcase of musical ability in youth throughout the northeast.

Though the competition has always been a bed of great talent, according to Director of Orchestra and Chamber Music Lauren Rigby, the performances have become more and more dense with aptitude as each new generation exemplifies a new flair and take on long-beloved musical pieces. The Hackley musicians competing this year have proven, and continue to prove, their work ethic, capability, and attention to detail.

Credit: Joshua Lee
A small peek at Rowan Pedraza, highlighted by the Camerata New Jersey channel, who is the pianist performing in this competition!
“I’m really excited for my chamber group’s upcoming performance, and I’m sure this experience is something I won’t forget.”

These Hackley musicians demonstrate a high level of proficiency and experience by rapidly forging ahead. For example, senior Rowan Pedraza, who has played piano since kindergarten, will be playing the piano for the quartet’s upcoming performance. He is also adept at the cello, a “personal pursuit” as he described it when recounting his musical experiences. Of course, this is expected from a student of the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Program, which is one of the most prestigious and competitive music programs accessible to high school students. After hours of practice for the chamber competition, Rowan describes his routine to be “an incredible experience. Every time we play, it only becomes more rewarding.”

Senior Talia Tirschwell, also a member of MSM Pre-College, views the chamber concert in a similar light to Rowan. The competition is not merely a looming event, but also a possibility for something greater: “I’m thinking of it as a performance opportunity, and if anything else comes out of it then we’ll be excited about that too,” she said. Talia, as well as the rest of her quartet, firmly conveys the importance of time scheduling and practice. According to Talia, sacrificing leisure time to master an instrument is not only vital for improvement but is what sets apart the proficiency of many musicians.

To put these achievements in context, Dr. Rigby explained to The Dial how challenging it is to become a great musician. Carving out time for practice is certainly important, but one’s ability to “stay the course, work really hard, listen to recordings, go to concerts, and immerse [oneself] as much as possible” is equally as important.

Dr. Rigby firmly illustrates the competence and proficiency of Hackley’s current competing quartet, describing them as holding all aspects of elite musicians and even reaching the “professional level.” In her eyes, Rowan, Talia, Aniketh, and Jad have exceeded the age gap of experience through raw talent and diligence.

Hackley is a rigorous institution that demands constant effort and time-management skills from its students. Therefore, as a musician myself, I cannot help but admire Rowan, Talia, Aniketh, and Jad’s achievements. For these Hackley musicians to balance academics, rise to such renown in our music program, and excel in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Young Musicians Competition is a testament to their dedication to the craft. It is said that mastering a skill takes ten thousand hours – hours not simply spent on practice but total immersion, allowing oneself to swim in one’s medium, plunging deeper and deeper until the art is all sensation. Hackley’s young musicians are well on their way to their ten thousand hours and we eagerly await their future feats.

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