Expert Musicians and School’s Best Performers Converge to Form Special Philharmonic Concert



Allison Lin ’22 in the Philharmonic.

Students and professional musicians from all around the country will share the stage on April 30 after a two year pause. For the upcoming concert, the musicians will play Verdi’s “Prelude to La Traviata,” Mozart’s “Piano Concerto in G Major, K. 453,” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No.7,” with German pianist Andreas Frölich as the guest soloist.

With the performance day approaching, students have already begun to learn the pieces. Specifically, they have started reading sessions, where the performers come together to try and work through the compositions before being joined by professionals. Mr. Fabio Witkowski, head of the visual and performing arts department, said, “My hope is that once we are on stage, we are at the same level of preparedness as the professionals who have played these repertoires countless times in their careers.”

The preparation process for some has been stressful yet rewarding, as the compositions are lengthier and more technically challenging than the orchestra pieces students are accustomed to. Cellist Jeffery Shi ’24, who spent majority of his practice times rehearsing the varied rhythms in the music, echoed this sentiment. He said, “With such a short time to prepare so many pieces of music, I’m learning the importance of practicing wisely and efficiently… When incorporating my sections of the pieces together with the rest of the orchestra, I’m reminded of how important it is to really look at Mr. Witkowski when he’s conducting.”

A crucial component of cohesion and unity, Mr. Witkowski always emphasizes to his orchestra the importance of watching the conductor.

He said, “Being able to have students working with these musicians will be an amazing opportunity to develop great habits. The more you engage with the pace and atmosphere of a professional orchestra, the more natural it becomes.”

Reflecting on the impact of the Hotchkiss Philharmonic Orchestra on her growth as a student musician, concertmaster Gracie Beatty ’24 said, “The [Hotchkiss] Philharmonic was a huge factor in my decision to come to Hotchkiss. The orchestra provides such a great opportunity to advance my performance skills and work alongside professional musicians. While the pieces are daunting, the demanding environment mimics that of a professional orchestra. It teaches us to come to rehearsals extremely well prepared and to maximize the limited time we have together.”

Mr. Witkowski cites the Philharmonic Orchestra as a selling point to many prospective musicians. Looking into the future, he envisions several philharmonic concerts per year as Covid restrictions continue to lift. Working closely alongside professional orchestras, he plans to invite several professional conductors and soloists from all over the world and colleges to perform at the school.

The concert will be live-streamed and is open to both the community and the public.