During the weekend of April 6, members of the Upper School Chorus joined high school and college singers from around the world in a three-day choral festival led by Grammy-winning composer/conductor Eric Whitacre. That same weekend, Friends’ Central sophomore Evan Sweitzer made his Carnegie Hall debut on solo piano in the Dr. Andor Kiszely Solo, Concert and Ensemble Recital.
Sweitzer, who performed on Saturday evening, April 6, was nominated by teachers throughout the Greater Philadelphia region and was selected via a competitive audition process from among top students through the collegiate level. He played Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 1. On why he chose that particular piece, Sweitzer said, “I missed the previous Carnegie Hall selection by one point, and I knew that the audition gets more competitive each year as more teachers nominate their students. Rather than giving up, though, I decided to make the commitment to try again. I chose Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp Minor in part because it was a step up technically from my previous audition piece, and also because I connect with it musically, which for me is always the most important part of making music.”
Sweitzer, whose recital took place in Carnegie Hall’s elegant Weill Recital Hall, shared some of what he felt after performing onstage at Carnegie Hall. “It was an immense privilege to perform on that stage, looking out into that room when I took a bow. I tried to channel the nervous excitement of a Carnegie Hall debut into my performance, and I think I succeeded in savoring the moment while I was living it.”
Organized by Distinguished Concerts International New York, the weekend-long festival in which Friends’ Central’s Chorus participated culminated in a group performance on Sunday, April 8. Thirteen members of the Upper School Chorus made the trip and performed in Carnegie Hall’s renowned Stern Auditorium with both national and international high school and college choral groups. “It’s incredible to have the opportunity to not only perform in Carnegie Hall but also to work with wonderful students from around the world,” shared Friends’ Central Chorus members Evan Paszamant ’18 and Skye Victor ’19. “The feeling is truly overwhelming.”
Friends’ Central Choral Director Michele Zuckman said, “I am so grateful for the privilege to work with such motivated and talented students on a project of this magnitude. As a choral director, it is a thrill of a lifetime to share my passion for making music by bringing Friends’ Central students to Carnegie Hall, where they collaborated with a brilliant composer/conductor and immensely talented young people from all over the world.”