Students Give ‘Transformative’ Concert at Carnegie Hall

Hockaday’s Vivian Zhou, Reagan Nguyen make Honors Performance Series

String instrumentalists Vivian Zhou and Reagan Nguyen, still months away from becoming sophomores at The Hockaday School, have already played Carnegie Hall.

The two Class of ’27 members were selected for the historic New York City landmark’s High School Honors Performance Series.

“Being selected to the Honors Performance Series is something each finalist should be extremely proud of accomplishing,” said Marion Gomez, the series’ music director. “We processed nearly 10,000 nominations this year and have selected the most talented student performers from around the world.”

For Vivian and Reagan, the official process began in April 2023 with nominations from their orchestra director. They spent the following months, including all summer, rehearsing solo pieces, gathering teacher references, and putting together musical resumes.

Vivian mentioned how she had studied music since she was 4, becoming interested in the cello when she joined the orchestra three years ago.

After receiving the repertoire, they practiced continually for their performance.

Vivian and Reagan spent Feb. 7 to 11 in New York, where they joined with performers from the United States, Guam, the Virgin Islands, South Korea, New Zealand, and Taiwan.

“Working with these conductors and performing at these renowned music halls is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that these musicians will never forget,” Gomez said.

Rehearsals lasted eight hours each day, said Vivian, who enjoyed “the opportunity to learn from an energetic and inspiring conductor, Mrs. Catherine Birke, who was very passionate and helped us come together and sound amazing on stage in only four days.”

The trip also included opportunities to explore New York City. They caught a Broadway show, walked around Times Square, visited Rockefeller Center, and celebrated the night before their performance.

Reagan, who plans to play at London’s Royal Festival Hall in July, said she was thankful for the unwavering support experienced in New York and grateful to have met such talented musicians.

Vivian echoed those feelings.

“I am so endlessly grateful for the chance to immerse myself in an environment with musicians who are just as, if not even more, passionate about playing their instrument and creating music as I am,” she said. “Ultimately, the experience was truly transformative, both a testament to my efforts and a foundation and motivator for what I can expect from myself as I continue moving forward in the future.”

Share this article...
Email this to someone
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.