Sounds and scenes from Music Week


Raphael Silverman Trio

“The magic of playing jazz music is being able to play with people you’ve just met or may not even speak the same language as you,” Raphael Silverman ‘19 said. Case in point: he met bandmate Clovis Nicolas on the bass for the first time at this performance, accompanied by Curtis Nowosad on the drums. Silverman’s passion for jazz blossomed at the school when he met music teacher Michael Bomwell and spent hours chatting about music. Since he started playing live, playing in private feels pointless, he said. “Performing is about sharing the love and joy I have for music. My best playing happens when my thoughts are out of the way.”

– Anya Mirza

Krakauer & Tagg

Clarinetist David Krakauer and pianist Kathleen Tagg performed “November 2022” by Syrian composer Kinan Azmeh. “The piece describes that feeling of wondering if you’ve lost a part of yourself in feeling really at home in a new place,” Tagg said. It started off slow, gradually increased in tempo, and culminated in a show-stealing clarinet chorus. Next up was a piece by John Zorn that represents a biblical angel, beginning with a light, whimsical piano that built up to a loud and dramatic chorus and ended on a soft and solemn note. Tagg found performing at the school to be a nice change of pace from larger concert halls. “It was nice to see all the youngsters here.”

– Lucy Peck

Chinese Opera Society

Chinese teacher Frances Fu and the Chinese Opera Society’s Zexin Li performed a traditional peking Chinese opera piece and taught students about the history and costumes associated with the art form. Peking opera has existed for over 200 years, characterized by fast and high-pitched singing with a detailed plotline. Fu wore a face of pale makeup with pink accents and a blue robe with traditional Chinese opera water sleeves, red pants, and a flat black hat. The most important aspect of her costume was a Yak’s tail beard that comes in three colors and portrays older male characters, specifically generals. It can represent different emotions and thought, especially when you run your hand through the beard and look left and right.

– Rena Salsberg

Zocalo Brass

A 40-student audience sang along to quintet Zocalo Brass’s songs like Saint Mark,” “Poker Face,” and “I Got a Feeling.” They chose music that people can connect to for the performance, band member Hugo Morena said. Morena has played in Broadway orchestras and done freelance work, but playing at the school was an exceptional experience because of how attentive the audience was. He hopes the music brought them joy, he said. “I want my music to help those who listen, even if it helps their mood just 1%.”

– Oliver Konopko

Stephanie Chou

Chou ‘05 rocked Olshan Lobby with her chamber ensemble that weaves traditional Chinese instruments with modern tunes. Accompanied by Andy Lin on the viola and violin, Matt Aronoff on the bass, and Lenny Wolfesen on percussion, the band also incorporates the two-stringed erhu in their instrumentation. “That led me to include my heritage, drawing from songs that I grew up with and stories I had heard about,” Lin said. One such song in their performance: “Kangding Love Song,” a tale of horse racing and teenage courtship in the Sichuan province.

– Charles Ampah

Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble

Headed by Masayo Ishiguire, the Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble performed four pieces of Japanese music using the koto, the shamisen, and the fue — traditional Japanese instruments. The performance was relaxing, nostalgic and whimsical, with the instruments creating a tapestry of sound. “I hope to spread unpopular traditional Japanese culture to the younger generation,” Ishiguire said. 

– Jacqueline Shih

Isabella Ciriello

Ciriello (11) performed Beethoven’s First Sonata, a series of consolations composed by Franz Liszt, and Debussy’s “Dr Gradus ad Parnassum” — three classical pieces, each from a different era, both up-beat and melancholy. The last piece was cheerful because she wanted the performance to end on a positive note, she said. She didn’t have much experience performing piano in front of a large audience since she only has taken private lessons. “When I practiced right before the performance, I was very nervous and kept messing up the notes,” she said. “But in the moment when I was performing, I felt calm — if I messed up, I would just wing it.”

– Diya Chawla