ATHENS, Ohio (Dec. 11, 2006) -- The old joke goes like this: A tourist asks a New Yorker, "Pardon me, sir, how do I get to Carnegie Hall?" The answer, "Practice." For sophomore violin performance major Heather Kufchak, it's no joke.
Kufchak will take part in two performances at the venerable concert hall this December with the New York String Orchestra Seminar. She is one of just 43 string players from around the country to be selected for this prestigious professional training program for musicians aged 16 to 22.
"I think I really haven't realized yet how amazing this is all going to be," said Kufchak, who notes that most of the musicians on the roster hail from major music conservatories. "I'm really excited and honored to be [selected], and to represent Ohio University and the great teaching that is happening here."
Kufchak arrives in New York Dec. 19 to work intensively on the orchestra repertoire and play in chamber music sessions coached by distinguished musicians before making her Carnegie Hall debut on Dec. 24. The seminar's second performance will be Dec. 28, after which she returns to the real world. Her room and board will be covered by The Schneider Fund for Young Musicians, The Carnegie Hall Corporation and The New School Concerts Department.
Kufchak's violin instructor, Associate Professor of Music Marjorie Bagley, participated in the New York String Orchestra Seminar herself when she was 16 years old. "It's a really great chance for Heather to work with other players who are going to be colleagues for the rest of her life and who represent the finest players of their generation," said Bagley, whose fellow alumni from the program include greats such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and this year's conductor, Jaime Laredo.
Bagley said it's a pleasure to teach Kufchak, who practices two to four hours a day. "Heather works every day and pushes herself every single day to get better at what she does," she said. "She's blossomed so much as a player and I know she will continue to do so."
As for the 19-year-old native of Westerville, Ohio, Kufchak says she never imagined she would play Carnegie, especially at such a young age. "Probably one of the best things about this [is] I get to say that I've played in Carnegie Hall!"
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