From Newbury Park to Manhattan: orchestra sends two students to take on Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall in New York City first opened in 1891 for the famous composer Tchaikovsky’s American debut. Now, cellist Danny Murphy, junior, and violinist Ashley Rosato, senior, have been invited to play at the prestigious venue as part of an Honors Performance Series.

“I’m really proud of them for being accepted. It validates all the hard work that they have put into their instrument,” Tina Huang, orchestra teacher said.

Rosato began playing violin in the fourth grade, while Murphy started playing freshman year in the school’s orchestra program. Even juggling honors classes, both continue to practice their instruments in and out of school. In addition to almost daily practices, the two also take private lessons once a week.

“(I practice) at least 5 times a week for usually 45 minutes to an hour at a time, but have hour long private lessons weekly as well,” Murphy said. “The cello gives me a lot of opportunities for my future as well as gives me something long term to continually work on and get better at.”

Last year, orchestra competed in the Heritage festival in San Diego, and earned the superior rating of gold. Soon after, Huang received a pamphlet offering all students in the program to apply for the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. She asked both Murphy and Rosato if they would like to apply and nominated them to the program after they said yes.

“They are both very attentive students who are also enthusiastic about strings. They are willing to try new techniques and are always pushing themselves to get better,” Huang said. “They are both very social and happy-go-lucky people who also love orchestra.”

The program had a long application process starting in June. It boiled down 18,000 choir, brass, woodwind, and strings players from all around the world to 750.

“The students were required to fill out an application regarding their previous experience and send in a video of them playing a piece they prepared, some scales, and a piece that the judges sent everyone,” Murphy said.

Murphy received an invitation on Halloween, while Rosato learned later on that she was the runner up. Rosato will find out by the end of the month whether or not she will play at the concert.

The two both received three pieces, one over 16 pages long, in late December to prepare for the February 7th performance. Carnegie Hall seats almost 3,000 people which is over double the amount Murphy and Rosato played in front of in the Civic Arts Plaza and the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra.

“I didn’t really understand the full magnitude of it until I told my parents and they got really excited.  I kind of expected not to get in so it was sort of a nice little surprise at the time, but as the date approached that I head to New York I have been getting more and more excited,” Murphy said.

Both Murphy and Rosato both plan to continue their musical career after the Honors Performance Series.

“I’d like to (continue playing). If I don’t make it (to Carnegie Hall) this year, then I’d try again next year for sure,” Rosato said.

“As far as playing professionally, I do not intend to as it stands, but you never know,” Murphy said. “I do not plan at any point to stop playing though, and would like to continue to throughout my life.”


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