WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange High School senior Isabel Kaspriskie has had a very exciting summer so far. It’s not every day that a standout French horn player in the West Orange High School Wind Ensemble and member of the prestigious New Jersey Youth Symphony gets to travel to Vienna, Austria for an international competition, and even more exciting when the ensemble is awarded first place.
On Sunday, July 6, the New Jersey Youth Symphony took first place in the orchestral division of the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival and Competition held July 4-8 in Vienna, Austria.
Joining 32 other ensembles from around the world, the New Jersey Youth Symphony was the only ensemble to represent the state and only of three represented nationally. They will share their first place award with the Westlake Symphony Orchestra of Auckland, New Zealand. The international competition is in its eighth year and brings together youth orchestras, choirs and bands from 13 countries and five continents. In addition to the competition held in Golden Hall of the Musikverein, The NJYS also attended interactive orchestral workshops conducted by members of the Festival’s orchestra jury at the University of Music in Vienna. The Youth Symphony is NJYS’s ensembles is the Youth Symphony, comprised of nearly 100 highly talented students ranging in age from 15 to 18 and hailing from eight counties.
Said Isabel of the performance, “That was probably my favorite part of the trip - just playing in the Musikverein, hearing ourselves in a hall that the composers we study played in themselves hundreds of years ago.”
The other high point of the trip for Isabel was making new friends. “I met people from all over the world and am now friends with people from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia."
In addition to performing at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival, NJYS’s 2014 European tour includes performances in Salzburg, Pottsching, Prague, and at MuTh, Vienna’s new venue for music and theatre built for the Vienna Boys’ Choir in 2012.
Isabel’s musical resume is exceptional and impressive. It includes, but is not limited to: North Jersey School Music Association – regional and honors ensembles; New Jersey Music Educator’s Association – All State; NJYS Ambassador Woodwind Quintet, coached by Bärli Nugent of the Juilliard School, performed in Vienna and coached in Prague (Isabel earned a scholarship to be in this program); Pit Orchestra musicals at Newark Academy and WOHS; the Wind Ensemble, and the award-winning West Orange High School Marching Band.
Just this week, Isabel learned she has been accepted into the All-National Honor Band.
But music is not Isabel’s only passion. “In college, I actually want to be a chemical or mechanical engineer and do some sort of research and lab work,” she said.
“I'm also thinking about materials science and its applications in personal electronics. I'm not sure, but I'm really involved in math and science teams, Math League and Science League.”
Isabel has also been accepted into the English, Science, Math, and Music Honor Societies and tutors outside of school.
Reflecting on her trip of a lifetime, Isabel said, "Being in Austria, dancing to American dance music with teenagers my age from all over was kind of crazy. It made the world feel a lot smaller.”