Meet our Graduating Seniors

Meet our Graduating Seniors!

Abrielle Scott, Flute

Miss Scott will be attending Vanderbilt University, Blair School of Music

Cavatina-  Hendrik Hofmeyr

Hendrik Hofmeyr grew up in Cape Town, South Africa.  After receiving his degree in composition from the University of Cape Town in 1981, he left his hometown to continue his music studies in Italy.  Hofmeyr lived and continued to study in Italy for ten years in self-imposed exile as a conscientious objector to the Apartheid laws in South Africa.  Since his return to Cape Town in 1992, Hofmeyr has won a variety of global competitions and written works for a variety of instruments and ensembles. His work for solo flute, Incantesimo, was selected to represent South Africa in the 2005 Congress of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Croatia.  Written in 1980, Hofmeyr’s Cavatina for flute and pianoforte is dedicated to Nerina von Mayer, flutist of the Hungarian Trio of Cape Town.  The music is dark and ebbs and flows with a soaring, emotive quality of an aria.  Dissonances scattered throughout provide a variety of colors, creating the dark, ethereal sound that Hofmeyr’s music is known for. A special thanks to pianist Michaela Guo for her wonderful musicality and eagerness to make this project a reality!Sonata for Flute Solo Op. 24-  John LaMontaine American composer John LaMontaine’s music is known for its lyricism and its rootedness in American poetry.  A former student of the Eastman, and Juilliard Schools of Music and the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau (respectively), LaMontaine served as pianist for the NBC Symphony Orchestra (1950-1954) under Arturo Toscanini, an important source of advice and inspiration to the composer.  In 1959, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his first piano concerto’s “true originality”.  He later went on to receive Guggenheim Fellowships and grants from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.  His overture, “From Sea to Shining Sea”, was performed at John F. Kennedy’s presidential inauguration. Written in 1957, LaMontaine’s Sonata for Solo Flute is truly engaging.  Throughout the piece, he playfully alternates motives containing major and minor thirds.  The Sonata contains self-reflection and spontaneity.  The first and third movements, “Questioning” and “Introspective”, wander about in a way that one’s train of thought would when daydreaming or deep in thought.  The second and fourth movements, “Jaunty” and “Rakish” are bright and lively, full of the tumbling, syncopated rhythms of an animated mind.

Barbara Williams, Flute teacher wrote:

After a good start on piano, Abrielle began flute study when she was 11, and fell in love with it. Exceptionally devoted, she has centered her life around flute, plunging wholeheartedly into every opportunity, including HMP’s Young Artist program, and great masterclasses each summer. She learned enough substantial repertoire to play solo recitals in her sophomore and junior years. She has excelled in jazz, won scholarship and concerto competitions, and the Korkina Award. She attended a national flute convention, communicating with and championing contemporary composers, and has cultivated friendships with flutists all over the country. She has grown before our eyes into a truly inspired and inspiring musician. Abrielle, I will miss you! I know you will flourish with joy at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music!

Abrielle wrote:

What a year this has been!  Through my four years as a member of the Honors Music Program, I never would have thought that my senior year would be full of such unexpected and memorable twists and turns.  I remember being a freshman, imagining what it would be like to give a recital all on my own, full of repertoire that I had absolutely fallen in love with.  I made list after list, trying to create the perfect program.  Eventually, my teacher and I did manage to plan what felt like “the perfect senior recital program,” and to this day, I still smile thinking about it.  Though I’m no longer able to present it to you in a typical recital setting, I’m even more thrilled to have met the challenge of presenting it virtually— it’s not every day that one gets to create a “virtual senior recital!”  

Thank you to all of my teachers and peers for such a wonderful four years as an HMP student.  I’ve learned so many valuable lessons from you all, and will undoubtedly take this knowledge with me as I advance through life– both as a musician, and as a person!

Now, I am happy to virtually present Hendrik Hofmeyr’s “Cavatina,” and John LaMontaine’s Sonata for Flute Solo, Op. 24.  I hope you will feel as (if not more) inspired listening to these as I did getting to know them.  With these past few months of social distancing and avoiding human contact, this music managed to bring back my sense of humanity… not to mention a great deal of joy!

Best wishes, and I hope to meet you all in person soon!

Anuradha Avancha, Cello

Miss Avancha will be attending California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo

Anu Avancha – Nocturne in D Minor, Tchaikovsky

Elgar composed Salut d’Amour as a love song for his fiancee, Alice Roberts. Alice had given him a poem she wrote, called Love’s Grace. Elgar decided to reciprocate the emotive message from his love by composing the music to go with the poem, especially directed towards her. It was originally composed for violin and piano, but I found that the richness and depth from the cello adds to the experience altogether and shows the complexity behind such emotions. He initially titled the piece Liebesgruss (Love’s Greeting), dedicated “To Carice”, a combination of Caroline Alice. With this title, the piece was not selling well, so the title was changed to Salut d’Amour, under the belief that a more “exotic” name would make the work seem more interesting. Edward and Alice got married the following year and, two years later, they had a daughter and named her Carice. The love behind this story is so clearly evident, and even when listening to the piece it is like being engulfed in this same feeling of love. Although I am young and may not know much about a topic such as love, playing this piece allows me to catch a glimpse at understanding Elgar’s emotions at the time.    

In great contrast to Salut D’Amour, Tchaikovsky’s Nocturne expresses true despair and anguish. This piece was created as a collaboration with Tchaikovsky’s friend, the cellist Anatoly Brandukov, a transcription of a solo piano piece that Tchaikovsky had written several years earlier. Tchaikovsky does a beautiful job showing the capabilities of the cello, with slow, somber beginning and end sections , and a slightly faster, more joyful middle section. The piece explores the entire range of the cello, and this adds to the depth behind the melancholy tune. At the time, Tchaikovsky was unhappy with his teaching duties at the Moscow Conservatory, because they left him with little time to compose, which was his passion. He was also rather shy and introverted, which may have added to his melancholic expression. Anyone listening to this piece can understand the inner turmoil that Tchaikovsky felt, and it brings out the darkest of emotions in everyone, no matter how deeply they may be buried. 

Laure Cascante, chamber music teacher wrote:

“Anuradha improved by leaps and bounds this year! She and partner Sophia had some very productive coachings up until March. I hope Anuradha gets a chance to complete our work in progress (Allegro Appasionato by Saint Seans) in her cello future. Best of luck to you Anuradha!” 

Anuradha wrote:

“The Honors Music Program has been such an important part of my life for the past three years, with almost every one of my Saturday’s being dedicated to expanding my music experience. Although we couldn’t have a proper send-off as seniors, the efforts that the HMP staff has given to provide us with an opportunity to end the year as best as possible have not gone unnoticed. Playing the cello is how I like to express myself and letting people listen to me play is like telling a little story about my life. Even though the composition may not be mine, I truly believe that music is completely subjective, and anyone is free to have their own interpretation of the notes to make it their own. I thank each and every one of you that took the time to listen to my music, and it really means a lot that you were willing to put some effort towards something I care about. I only hope that each person can find their own way to connect to music and create their own perception because that moment in time, when everything is suspended and music is just completely filling every crevice of your mind, is truly an unmatched experience.”

Kunal Mulki, Voice

Mr. Mulki will be attending New York University, Stern School of Business

Amarilli, mia bella: 

Giulio Caccini was an Italian composer who played a large part of both the Renaissance and Baroque eras. He is also looked at as one of the founders of opera music. One of his most famous works, Amarilli, Mia Bella, is a more repetitive piece, unlike a lot of his other work. It is considered by some to be the first Italian art song. Simple, yet powerful, the lyrics plead with a woman named Amarilli to believe a man that he loves her deeply. 

Nuit D’etoiles:

Claude Debussy is perhaps the most famous composer in the realm of Impressionist music. His works often contain dreamy, ethereal melodies. This song, his first-ever published vocal work, narrates a story of one reflecting on a starry night similar to the nights he once spent with his lover.

Danielle Sinclari, the Voice Department Head wrote:

“In spite of your inexplicable attachment to marching band, you’ve been a terrific student, singer and colleague.  We will all miss your humor and intelligence, along with your love of singing and music-making.  Your commitment to drama and story-telling, and the deep emotional attachment you bring to your songs has always served as a model to your classmates.  This strong need to communicate through music is paired with an eagerness to master vocal technique, the desire to attain skill fueled by your desire to do justice to your songs.  In your two brief years with us, you have grown tremendously both vocally and artistically.  Your discernment in choosing repertoire (we won’t call it pickiness!) has challenged me to find repertoire that would inspire you, and your enthusiasm for duet repertoire has been particularly satisfying for me.  I know you will continue to sing, and continue to both find and give joy with your music-making.  We all wish you the best of luck.”

Kunal writes:

I would like to thank everybody who decided to watch these videos for supporting me in my music journey. I know these are unprecedented times, and you taking time out of your day to watch these videos in unconventional ways truly warms my heart. I would like to thank my parents for signing me up for singing lessons all the way back in seventh grade. At the time, I had no idea I would be singing the type of music I sing today, and after the first year, I didn’t even know if I would do lessons again. I’m so glad I did, because I do not regret one moment of everything Westminster has given me. Of course, this would not be possible without the help of my amazing teachers. First, Mrs.Sensenig, who has been my private lessons teacher since seventh grade, when I was still singing soprano. I want to thank her for helping me find my love for classical music and always knowing how to help me grow as a performer. There was never a week in which I was not excited to go to lessons with her. Next is Mrs.Sinclair, my vocal performance and diction teacher at HMP. I feel I have grown immensely as a singer during my two years at HMP, and I would like to thank her for pushing me to always look for improvement in what I do. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to have studied both privately and at HMP for the past six years, and it is an experience I will truly never forget. Thank you all!

Sneha Sreejith, Voice

Miss Sreejith will be attending Rutgers University

Sérénade Italienne                 

Sérénade italienne is perhaps Chausson’s most extrovert mélodie. Just as in “Les Papillons”, the piano accompaniment plays a major role in setting the mood of “Sérénade italienne”. In the opening two measures, triplet figures represent the rocking of the waves on the sea. The poetry invites one’s beloved to come out for a night on the sea under the stars, where no one will understand their words but the night, the sky, and the waves. The rocking triplets seem to suggest the movement of the boat and waves. Chausson interprets with increased intensity a portion of the poem in which the two lovers being depicted realize the freedom with which they may express their souls to one another. The mood is accomplished by using smaller note values. This agitation is allowed to gradually subside as the poet’s thoughts return to nature. The vocal phrases are long and form undulating melodic arcs. Occasional chromatic alterations add interest to the vocal line.

“Et Exultavit Spiritus Meus” from Magnificat, BWV 243a                        

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685- 1750)                      

J.S. Bach was the quintessential Baroque composer, whose lifetime represents the era of the Baroque as far as music is concerned. He has composed over 200 known cantatas, and that is counting only the church cantatas. Far more of his works have been lost than have been saved. He was a master organist and an acoustical expert. In addition to the enormous number of solo keyboard works, Bach produced concertos and orchestral suites, as well as major choral works, such as the Magnificat.

The Magnificat was probably written for the Christmas Day vespers of 1723, but Bach altered it both in key and orchestration, and left out several hymns with specific reference to the Christmas story, presumably to make it appropriate for performance at occasions other than Christmas. The text of the second movement states, “Et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo”, which translates to “And my spirit rejoices in God my savior”. This music soars beautifully in the voice and challenges both the singer and the accompanist with fast runs. With only eight Latin words making up the text, rehearsal time can be dedicated towards vowel uniformity, breath control, phrasing and discovering the Baroque style.

Als Luise die Briefe     WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791)

The poem “Als Luise die Briefe” was written by Gabrielle von Baumberg when she was 18 years old after discovering her unfaithful lover. She was an acquaintance of Mozart and asked him to set the piece for a friend. The song was composed the same year as Don Giovanni (1787) and shares many operatic qualities. The text drives the music, shifting quickly from anger to sadness, and finally regret. The accompaniment represents the crackling fire into which Luise throws the letters that used to bring her such joy.

Weep You No More Sad Fountains    ROGER QUILTER (1877-1953)

Roger Quilter was known for composing over one hundred songs, an opera, and a couple ballets. Although his songs are considered to make no great technical demands on the performers, nor intellectual demands on the listener, a Quilter song is easily recognized by the natural flow of its vocal lines. The rhythm of the words is enhanced by the melody, rather than forcing the rhythm into a preconceived melody. The accompaniments provide rhythmic interest and countermelodies without restricting the singer. Weep You No More from John Dawland’s Third Book of Ayre’s from 1603, was originally an Elizabethan poem by an unknown author. In this song, there is no melodic or harmonic surprise, for it would disrupt the smoothness and beauty seen in so many of Quilter’s songs.

Danielle Sinclair, the Vocal Department head, wrote:

I think you must hold the record for most years in your HMP Vocal program!  From your first year in our then new Vocal Skills class, to your final preparation for your Senior Recital, I have found great pleasure in watching your progress.  You’re often quiet in class, but I know you’re quietly absorbing everything.  You have a quick mind and an easy-going attitude, as well as a determination to conquer your own vocal and musical challenges.  When you decided you needed work on communication, you pointedly asked for more songs that would help you work on those skills.  And I particularly appreciate that, although you wanted more work your high voice, you were always perfectly happy taking the alto line – an incredibly valuable gift in a class with four sopranos!  You have a remarkably broad and inclusive appreciation of music, and it’s been a joy helping you discover new repertoire to fall in love with.  I know music is a large part of your life, and that it will always be with you.  You have set large goals for yourself, and wish you luck in conquering them.

Sneha wrote:

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Westminster Conservatory HMP family for guiding me through my musical journey these past four years. I have learned many valuable lessons that will stay with me through the future, especially in the next four years as I pursue a Music minor in college. Over these years, all the theory, history, ear training, and diction classes taught me how to understand and appreciate every aspect of the music I love. From performance classes I learned to get over my stage-fright, and to not only use my voice for joy and entertainment, but to also convey a meaningful message through each song. Along with these lessons, I have gained experience and made countless memories that I will cherish forever. I would also like to thank my parents for supporting me through all my musical endeavors ever since I was a young child and for pushing me to keep reaching for my goals. Thank you!

Sora Sato, Chamber Music

Miss Sato will be attendingRutgers University

Syrinx by Debussy  French composer Claude Debussy was born to a modest family in 1862. Showing musical talent from a young age, he was admitted into and studied at the Conservatoire de Paris from the age of 10. Known as one of the first impressionist composers, his distinctive style successfully transformed classical into a modern and mature style of harmony and orchestral coloring. Slowly developing his style, he achieved fame through his opera, Pelléas et Mélisande and eventually became one of the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Written in 1913, Syrinx is one of the most well-known solo pieces for unaccompanied flute. It was originally titled “Flute de Pan” and written as part of the play Psyché by Gabriel Mourey. The piece illustrates a story, in which the god Pan falls in love with a nymph Syrinx, but Syrinx does not return this love towards Pan, and therefore turns herself into water reeds to hide. Pan cuts these reeds to make his pipes, therefore killing his love. In reference to the nymph Syrinx, the piece was later titled “Syrinx”. It is a very expressive piece with room for many different interpretations, and is said to have contributed greatly in the development of solo flute music in the early 20th century. 

Barbara Williams, Flute teacher wrote: 

Sora has been a calm, consistent, self-possessed student all of our seven years together. She has built a fine technique that has equipped her to take on any challenge! It’s been such a pleasure to see her master repertoire from Bach to Taffanel, Ganne, Mouquet, to Prokofiev and Muczynksi, to navigate challenging classical chamber music in HMP ensembles, and to be capable of top-notch jazz work, as a member of Studio Band at PHS– even recording with them last winter at Abbey Road, and returning to play in the National Jazz Festival! I will miss you, Sora! And wish you a rich experience at Honors College Rutgers! Delighted you will minor in music– may your love of music keep your spirit strong in all your endeavors for the common good!  

Sora wrote:

To Barbara,  I cannot thank you enough for my experiences and teachings from you over the past seven years. Since I began taking private lessons in sixth grade, you have not only helped me grow as a musician, but as a performer and as a person. I still remember the first time I went in for a lesson as a ten year old I was extremely nervous and scared because i had forgotten my flute at school. But you were, and continued to be, extremely understanding and supportive of everything from my flute playing to my other extracurriculars. Playing solo pieces and duets with you as well as chamber through HMP has been a huge part of my life that I will cherish, and hope to continue with in the future. Thank you so much for everything! 

To Mr. Willois, 

Your passion and knowledge towards flute and music theory have always inspired me. Thank you for being my first and most wonderful music theory and chamber teacher. Though I have never taken private lessons with you, you have taught me so much about playing in an ensemble and working with others to create music, whether it be with other flutes or a different instrument. I would not have had the opportunity to play alto, bass, or piccolo flutes, or learned how to analyze and arrange music if it was not for your classes I have taken the past three years. Thank you!

To My Family, 

Without your endless support, I would not have been able to achieve what I have not only through HMP, but my whole music career. The opportunities that I have had through Westminster Choir College with the most amazing and talented teachers, friends, and atmosphere have only been possible because of you. Thank you for pushing me to be my best, for telling me to practice, for dealing with me constantly playing piano or flute in the house, for sitting through all of my recitals, for driving me to and from my lessons, and so much more. I truly owe everything to you! Thank you!

Maggie Zhang, Chamber Music

Miss Zhang will be attending Bowdoin College

Le Vent Á Travers les Ruines- Yuko Uebayashi

Yuko Uébayashi is a composer who was born in Kyoto, Japan and presently resides inFrance. Uebayashi has a distinct compositional style that combines two unexpected styles: French impressionist music and Japanese film music. In particular, Uebayashi is inspired by landscapes, light, and paintings, and she only writes music for musicians to whom she feels a connection. She composed Misericordia for Flute and String Quartet for Carol Wincenc in 2013. The National Flute Association (NFA), the most active flute society in America, hosted the Misericordia performance during its annual convention in Chicago in 2014. Uébayashi’s flute works have not only been frequently performed at NFA conventions, but also at other well-known flute festivals since 2006, the year of her U.S. debut. Many current flutists are motivated to learn and play her compositions; however, there is little published literature about her works.

Yuko Uebayashi’s Le Vent a Travers Les Ruines (The Wind Through the Ruins) was highly praised upon its premiere, being published immediately by Lemoine and entering several international competitions. Uebayashi does not simply depict images in her compositions, but rather transforms the inspiration she perceives from these images into emotions. The most representative example of this imagery-based composition is seen in Le Vent A Travers Les Ruines – for flute solo. Here she depicts the ruins of a monastery, but adds her own experiences of seeing these ruins through more complex emotions she felt. Fluctuations in rhythm and dynamics provide imagery for the wind, perhaps inspiring a sense of hope and new beginnings in the wake of a devastating catastrophe. 

Barbara Williams, Flute teacher wrote:

Maggie is a courageous and versatile student. Learning to play flute from her older sister, June, she was already a very able flutist when she entered 6th grade. When she began flute lessons with me, she also began playing baritone sax at school. Through high school and in HMP she’s kept these instruments going, pulling off some beautiful chamber performances on both. This year her sax kept the PHS Jazz Ensemble well-grounded, and she toured with flute in Italy with PHSO. What a juggling act! I will miss you, Maggie! Keep your versatility and your zest for life, and keep playing at Bowdoin!

Maggie wrotte:

First and foremost, I would like to thank my family, friends, and HMP teachers for playing an integral role in my development as a musician. My older sister, a flutist herself, inspired my journey, letting me fiddle around on her flute at 8 years old. My peers have encouraged me to continue my musical pursuit, creating truly beautiful works of art alongside me in school bands, orchestras, and chamber groups. In fact, there are several seniors here today who have been with me since the inception of my musical career in elementary school. My HMP teachers have challenged me to grow as a musician, and have taught me musical curricula that I will undoubtedly take beyond the walls of Westminster Conservatory. I would also like to thank Ms. F for directing the Honors Music Program, giving me something to look forward to every week along with memories that will last a lifetime.

Lastly, I would like to thank my teacher, Barbara Williams. Barbara has been a household name in my family for the last 16 years when she began teaching my older sister. Barbara has been a staple in my life since I was 12 years old, and has taught me invaluable lessons that go beyond music theory and technique. When I signed up for flute lessons, I expected to learn how to perform—and I have. But moreover, I have learned to be self-disciplined, resilient, and passionate about the things I love. To Barbara: For every time you have corrected me, encouraged me, and inspired me to reach new heights in my music, I am grateful.