First Stop: Carnegie Hall
Spotlight Date:March 28, 2016
Dreyfoos Senior Kevonna Shuford was recently selected from students across the country by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute to be part of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. A viola player, Kevonna began her study in 3rd grade, when she was introduced to the instrument by her older sister.
As part of the National Youth Orchestra, Kevonna will not only have the opportunity to play on the famed stage of Carnegie Hall, but also on a European Tour with stops in Amsterdam, Montpellier, Copenhagen, and Prague. “I am so excited to go to a country that I've never been to and experience the food, music, and basic daily living like taking the train or bus. Every culture is so unique and to have an opportunity to experience this, I would not give it up for anything!”
To be selected, Kevonna had to prepare a piece of her choice and about 4 excerpts to audition with, which were video recorded and submitted electronically, along with a personal essay, an application, and several letters of recommendation.
Last summer, Kevonna’s talent also landed her a spot at the Meadowmount School of Music’s summer program, and thanks to the Benenson Scholarship through the Foundation, she was able to attend.
“By attending Meadowmount I was introduced to a larger music scene beyond Palm Beach County. This was an important experience that I believe every musician should have. It allows you to grade or rank yourself against some of the best talents in the world. In addition, I found myself in many situations that are unique to the field such as playing a gig where you're literally learning the music as you're performing, or learning to perform without forewarning. These are real experiences that professionals go through daily.”
Before Meadowmount, Kevonna also attended the Suwannee Summer Music Festival, and Suzuki day camps.
“My teachers have influenced my style of playing as well as some of the more famous musicians in this field such as Pinchcus Zuckerman, Lionel Tertis, and William Primrose; they really set the standard for Viola playing.”
Dreyfoos has given Kevonna the opportunity to make connections with musicians who share her passion for music. “Dreyfoos means that I have the support system of teacher, staff, and faculty who push me to be successful and a positive influence on society despite the career path I choose. I hope that the music skills, and high academic standard which are heavily stressed at Dreyfoos propel me into the program which is right for me and my goals.”
When Kevonna graduates, she hopes to attend both Juilliard and Columbia University so she can continue her study of music, as well as a field in the sciences.