Students Perform at Second Annual Carnegie Hall Event


Wendy Carlson

Shane Kim ’20 performs “Scene de Ballet” by Charles Auguste de Beriot at Carnegie Hall last January.

The new year started off on a high note for the music program, with a performance in one of the world’s most renowned concert venues. Twenty-one music students performed in Carnegie Hall in New York City last Monday. Founded in 1891, the hall has showcased musical talent in multiple genres, from popular to classical.

For Victoria Chen ’21, Weill Hall at Carnegie is an unfamiliar venue, “When I play my piece,” she said, “I need to clear my mind and think of nothing. To be honest, even thinking about the music and what notes are coming up distracts me.”

Chen described the sensation of stepping onto a new stage as “a unique feeling that never really disappears,” and also commented on the rich history of the concert hall. “Some of the most high-level pianists perform in these spaces,” she noted, “and to be performing where they performed is really special.”

The tradition of Carnegie Hall recitals for Hotchkiss students is relatively new. Students first performed in the world-famous venue in January 2018. Since last year, the number of performers going to Carnegie has increased by about one third, from 16 to 21 students.

Though extensive practice seems a sure means to prevent nervousness, the multiple intricacies of a piece can nevertheless give a musician the jitters. In the weeks leading up to the concert, Ricky Shi ’22 said his biggest challenge was the sheer number of small details that needed attention in his long and intricate piano piece. He commented, “I want to use my skills to deliver music to the audience and make [it] sounds good [despite my nervousness].” 

For Dr. Gisele Witkowski, instructor in piano, the heart of the concert lies in its ability to bring people together through music. Hard work and many run-throughs culminate in a two-hour performance. She said, “It is so rewarding when you are really well prepared and [come determined to] perform your best.”