On Saturday, June 20, nearly a dozen young musicians, many of whom are New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) students and alumni, participated in a virtual fundraising concert organized by NJYS cellist Noelia Carrasco in response to the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement. The event, which took place virtually via Zoom, exceeded its fundraising goal, raising $676 to be donated to the Black Lives Matter Organization. Here is what Noelia had to say about the event in her own words:
My name is Noelia Carrasco. I live in Rockaway, NJ, and attend Morris Knolls High School. I have been playing the cello for nine years and am a member of the NJYS Youth Symphony, participate in the chamber music program at the New York Youth Symphony, and volunteer with the Paterson Music Project.
Upon hearing about the death of George Floyd, I joined millions around the world who took this as the final straw in what has equated to years of oppression and injustice for the Black community. Racism, prejudice, and inequality are so prevalent in our society, yet can be so easily swept under the rug, dismissed to be too sensitive of a topic to be discussed. I was brimming with frustration and anger that the country I live in could allow such heinous crimes to continually occur. I knew I had to do something to take action.
At first, it was discouraging to be limited to signing petitions, writing emails, making phone calls, and spreading awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement in a few, limited ways. But then I realized that I could use my passion for music in order to make a statement: that with music we can unify our communities and work towards something greater than ourselves. Although we cannot change the world with one concert, we can contribute to this process of change by allowing music to remind us of humanity, compassion, and empathy.
For the concert’s repertoire, I asked that all of the performers select a piece that they were really passionate about—something they could easily connect with emotionally. I wanted to remind the audience during this concert that even during this unprecedented era, we must not let hatred and animosity cloud our vision. We must look forward with the guidance of love and peace.
The performers and repertoire for the concert:
Pianist Alexandria Stevenson, a rising senior at Morris Knolls High School, performed Aufenthalt by Franz Schubert.
Violinist Samuel Lederman, a rising junior at Newark Academy, performed Liebesleid by Fritz Kreisler.
Cellist Sean Lee, rising sophomore at Emory University and NJYS Youth Symphony alumnus, performed Prelude from “The Gadfly” by Dmitri Shostakovich.
Cellist Leo Capurso, rising senior at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, performed the Allemande from Suite No. 2 in D minor for Unaccompanied Violoncello by J.S. Bach.
Pianist Linda Ji, rising senior at Morris Knolls High School, performed Argentinian Danze No. 2 by Alberto Ginastera.
Cellist Noelia Carrasco, rising senior at Morris Knolls High School, performed Salut d’Amour by Edward Elgar.
Violinist Priscilla Tam, rising senior at Parsipanny Hills High School, performed the Adagio from Sonata No. 1 in G Minor by J.S. Bach.
Violist Dora Bonyai, rising senior at New York University, performed Viola Sonata No. 1: Sehr Langsam by Paul Hindemith.
Cellist Noel Cho, rising freshman at Brandeis University, performed the Allemande from Suite No. 4 for Unaccompanied Violoncello by J.S. Bach.
Violinist Ryan Nguyen, rising freshman at Stanford University and NJYS Youth Symphony alumnus, performed Cantabile in D Minor by Niccolo Paganini.