September 24, 2020

Chen – an instrumental wonder

Sabrina Chen ’17 plays instruments in both the school band and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. (Photo by Rachel Landau '16)

Many know Sabrina Chen ’17 as the junior who will graduate early with this year’s group of seniors — no easy feat. However, her claim to fame extends far beyond this: she also happens to be an accomplished clarinetist in the school band and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO).

BYSO is one of the most prestigious orchestras in the Northeast. After only 6 years of playing the clarinet, Chen was accepted into the musical group. Her first audition in 6th grade placed her in the lowest group, the Preparatory Winds, but she diligently worked her way up from there.

“Every year the audition process is really nerve-wracking. But in the end it’s a lot of fun. I’m glad I do it,” said Chen.

Last year, Chen took part in the MICCA Solo and Ensemble Festival. Currently, she is a member in of a student-run wind quartet. On top of that, she has been playing piano for as long as she can remember. Music takes up a substantial amount of her time.

“I try to practice every day. As I’ve been getting more difficult music, it’s becoming necessary to practice a lot more. Sometimes with schoolwork that doesn’t happen,” said Chen.

Chen has also left an impact on other band members at the school. “In her solos she has really nice vibrato, expression, and a full tone,” said Mira Kim ’16, a flute player.

Although she focuses more on the clarinet, Chen’s favorite composer is Debussy, a pianist. As for as orchestral music, she enjoys listening to Mahler and Brahms. She likes the sound of lower instruments, such as cellos and trombones. Chen played jazz music for a couple of years, but says she prefers classical music.

In college next year, Chen would like to pursue her passion for music. “My parents and I agreed that I was capable of it, and I thought it would be a fun challenge,” said Chen.

“There is the question of discipline that’s present in any instrument,” said Chen. “For everything you do, you have to set aside time to practice, you have to have goals in mind, and you have to work towards those goals, so it isn’t just necessarily specific to clarinet.”

(Christine Arumainayagam ’16, Staff Writer)

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