Student Soloists Showcase Latest Work in Elfers


Carrie Cao '23

Tomo Furutani ’23 plays in Elfers.

Student pianists and instrumentalists gathered in Elfers Hall on April 22 and April 26 to perform their solo pieces for the community. With another upcoming concert on May 3, these three recitals aim to showcase the soloists’ work and growth since the first instrumental concerts earlier this school year. Mr. Witkowski, head of the visual and performing arts department said, “The quantity and quality of talent on the campus is a direct reason for the need to split everyone into separate concerts.”

Behind the scenes, Mr. Witkowski requested for the student musicians to submit recordings of their solos prior to their performances. The recordings, meant to assess performers’ readiness and preparation, highlight the technical and emotional relationship musicians have with their pieces. To this end, Mr. Witkowski said, “If a student [fails to support] their piece, either verbally or through their recording, then being able to perform is out of the question.”

For pianists, such as Daniel Li ’24, rehearsals consisted of running through their pieces daily for up to hours at a time. In addition to private rehearsals, Li also invited his peers to attend his practices to gain insight about his performance and audience reactions.

In preparation for these student recitals, it is common for performers to practice daily.

“I’ve been practicing a lot,” said Bill Wang ’25, assistant concertmaster in the Hotchkiss Orchestra. “Our performances must include physical expression so [the audience] can further visualize the music in conjunction with our playing. I struggle with this at times because I try to be the least theatrical as possible. However, in most cases, the music speaks for itself.”

Reflecting on a series of successful student recitals and performances, Mr. Witkowski said, “Of course there is an improvement since the last recital. Every year we have more and more talented students.”

Student musicians gain valuable experience during these recitals that help them improve from one performance to the next. “Learning how to make [nerves] and butterflies work in your favor is the most important part of performing,” said Mr. Witkowski.

Student musicians will have more opportunities to perform throughout the spring, including in performances by the Hotchkiss Choir and the Hotchkiss Philharmonic Orchestra.