Bishop’s Instrumentalists Present: Solo & Ensemble Recital

Middle and upper school musicians reflect on their most recent performance in the chapel


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Pictured are Natasha Mar (’23) on the piano, Lilian Franqui (’25) on the violin, and Novalyne Petreikis (’23) on the Cello.

Crystal Li, Editor-in-Chief

The reverberating walls of St. Mary’s Chapel host Bishop’s religious services, speeches, and songs: they also serve as a great performing space for student musicians. On the evening of February 10, Bishop’s hosted a Solo and Ensemble Recital that celebrated the solo, duo, and trio performances of classical musicians and members of the Chamber orchestra. Along with every performer who practiced in their own time, the Director of Instrumental Music Mr. Robert Anderson put in substantial effort in preparing for the optional instrumental music concert.  “It was a great opportunity to find other talented musicians and do instrument combinations in groups that we wouldn’t have an opportunity to work with otherwise,” said performing violinist Joy Udinsky (‘24). 

Promptly at 6:00 PM, the recital began with junior William Guo’s performance of  Preludio in Bach Partita for Solo Violin. Playing solo Back in a church or chapel has always been William’s dream. “My favorite part about preparing for the event was going into an empty chapel on Wednesday afternoon with Mr. Anderson to test out the acoustics,” he noted. “From the first note, I was so moved that I got goosebumps—it was almost like the recordings I have heard on Youtube by great violinists.” He also added that playing the piece in an environment Bach imagined the piece to be played in also made him connect with the piece and his instrument more. 

Sashi Chuckravanen (‘25) agreed with William’s outlook on their performance space, expressing that rehearing in the chapel is her favorite part of preparing for the event. Sashi performed both a solo violin piece, Applemania by Aleksey Igudesman, and a piano accompaniment position for Eighth grader Kayley Xu’s Glazunov concerto. “I also really enjoyed being able to perform with another musician… it was very collaborative and fun,” she said. “Mr. Anderson did a great job organizing the event and everyone who performed contributed so much talent.”

“I loved practicing and performing with Sashi, who is an extremely talented musician,” added Kayley in regards to performing the Glazunov Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82. She also noted that this was a relatively challenging piece, and they only had ten days to put it together before the performance.  “This event was our first recital dedicated only to solo and chamber performers… it was a new experience working with a piano accompanist around my age.” 

The Solo and Ensemble Recital also gave Bishop’s younger middle schoolers an opportunity to demonstrate their passion for music. Seventh graders Jennica Ho, Neela Laurent, and Julia Schnabl performed Hornpipe from The Water Music by Handel with the violin, flute, and cello respectively. “We chose this piece because it was our first time playing in a trio and we wanted a simple, easy, and beautiful song,” they explained. This occasion also showed them the importance of taking responsibility as musicians in addition to allowing them an opportunity to practice and perform. 

Following Sashi’s violin solo, Joy and Mia Gover (‘25) performed Duetto for Flute and Violin in G major by F. Hoffmeister. The duet featured simple melodies from the classical era and each of the two instruments was carrying individual, distinct tunes while working together simultaneously. Both musicians expressed that their favorite parts of the piece were when the two instruments came together in unison. In regards to their bi-weekly practice sessions before the recital, Joy said, “We rehearsed every week until we were ready to perform. No matter how many times we made mistakes or had instrument malfunctions, we always worked through the bumps and came out with a well-prepared piece.” 

The concert was also a reflective moment for Joy as she looked back to her previous experiences in practicing violin: “Music does not have to be mandatory, it can be voluntary… a lot of us, including me, were pushed to play our instruments by our parents when we were younger, but now, seeing everyone come together and perform just because we want to is very special and meaningful.” 

Ending the recital, cellists Novalyne Petreikis (‘23) and Natasha Mar (‘23) performed “He’s a Pirate” from the hit movie series The Pirates of the Caribbean.  “As a sophomore, I have had many opportunities to perform, but this was the first time I was able to listen to everything from Bach to Pirates of the Caribbean at Bishop’s,” noted Sashi. “I definitely look forward to similar experiences in the future.”