Celebrating Successes

Even amid difficult times, we can celebrate successes, growth, and good news from our vibrant and talented community.

In this edition, we celebrate news from Dongyoung Jake Shim, Chris McCarthy, Joshua Weilerstein, Leonard Fu, Rachael Price, Vilray Blair Bolles, Edwina Sun, Samuel George, Jacob Prokop, Eric Sweet, Changwon Park, Heng Yang, and Jason Palmer.

Dongyoung Jake Shim with violin

Violinist and current student Dongyoung Jake Shim is a Irving M. Klein International String Competition semi-finalist.

The competition will take place June 6 – 7, 2020 on the contest’s YouTube channel.

Dongyoung is from Gyeonggi-do, South Korea and studies with Donald Weilerstein.

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Chris McCarthy "Still Time To Quit" album cover

Jazz alum Chris McCarthy's "Still Time To Quit," his debut album as a bandleader,was reviewed in Glide Magazine:

Their collective statement is indeed free-spirited, unpredictable yet still tied to post-bop structures in many compositions. (After all, this is a keyboardist who studied with Fred Hersch and Jason Moran at the New England Conservatory and had a regular gig with Jerry Bergonzi’s band)

This is a big step forward for McCarthy, an auspicious label debut that bodes well for the future. Hopefully, there’s not a shred of ‘quit’ in him.

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Skip the repeat with Kai Talim - podcast logo

Joshua Weilerstein was a recent guest on "Skip the Repeat," a podcast hosted by pianist Kai Talim aimed at discovering how artists and creatives came to be the people they are today.

They discussed pet rabbits, growing up with superstar cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and balancing respect with collaboration as a conductor.

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Leonard Fu

Leonard Fu ’19, ’21 MM won first prize in the Ton und Erklärung (”Sound & Explanation”) competition, hosted by Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft in Frankfurt, Germany. 

The first prize win came with a €10,000 prize and numerous concert engagements, including a gala concert with the hr-Sinfonieorchester as well as at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.

At NEC, Leonard studies with Donald Weilerstein.

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Rachael & Vilray smile while performing for an audience at NPR

Rachael and Vilray, a duo comprised of Jazz Studies alumni Rachael Price ’07 and Vilray Blair Bolles ’05, appeared on NPR's Fresh Air, for an interview and on-air performances of their music.

”If you listen to their self-titled debut album, which came out late last year, you might think they were singing lost jazz and swing tunes from the '30s and '40s, but the songs are actually new ones composed by Vilray. The two met when they were at the New England Conservatory of Music but only recently started performing together,” says host Terry Gross.

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Edwina Sun smiles and rests her arm on her piano

Pianist Edwina Sun, 14 years old, won Third Prize and Bronze Medal in the 2nd Rachmaninoff Competition in Moscow.

Edwina studies at NEC's Preparatory School, studying with Victor Cayres and playing in the Advanced Piano Seminar I. She is a high school freshman at Walnut Hill School for the Arts and hails from Las Vegas, Nevada.

What was most memorable about the competition? ”How high the level was. I have been to competitions in Poland, Spain, and Hartford, Connecticut, and won first place in the competitions in Poland and Spain, but the level I saw in Russia dwarfed even the level of the competitions there. The majority of the pianists there were older than me and extremely accomplished, so it was an honor for me to compete amongst them, let alone win a prize.”

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2020 American Trombone Workshop

Chamber Group 61, an NEC trombone quartet comprised of Samuel George ’20, Jacob Prokop ’20, Eric Sweet ’20 MM, and Changwon Park ’20, won the American Trombone Workshop’s Quartet Competition.

The American Trombone Workshop is an annual event hosted by the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, and is the second largest festival in the world specifically devoted to trombone, typically drawing nearly 1,000 musicians from around the country.

“This is a wonderful achievement for them, and a testament to how hard they have all worked. I share this news with much joy for them!” said NEC faculty and bass trombonist James Markey.

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Heng Yang

Heng Yang ’20 won Second Prize in her division the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York Emerging Composers Competition. Heng studies with Michael Gandolfi and John Mallia in NEC's composition department. The prize was awarded for her composition Sonnet 8.

Heng shares: ”Most contemporary composers today are writing atonal music. However, I write tonal music, and my goal is to develop a style that combines the beauty of Western and Eastern music. The competition result is an encouragement to me because it shows that my music is recognized.”

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Jazz trumpeter Jason Palmer

Jazz trumpeter and alumnus Jason Palmer ’07 was profiled in the Boston Globe about losing a friend and fellow trumpet student to gun violence during his middle school years. For his Upward Mothers Project, he has created music based on interviews with Boston mothers who have lost children to gun violence.

“I learned so much just from listening to the mothers and where they’re at in their lives. It kind of makes you feel how small you can be but also how powerful you can be. It’s a been a big learning process for me. And I feel more connected to the community by doing something like this,” said Jason.

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Have news to share? Email news@necmusic.edu

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