During stressful time likes these, the Philharmonic Association is pleased to share some exciting news and words of inspiration with you. We are thrilled to announce that past PA member Luke Henderson won the 47th Annual Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition as part of the Phillips Trio!
Luke played violin in TYO for one year, TYS for three years, and sat as Principal Second Violin in TYP for one year before continuing his high school education at Phillips Academy in Massachusetts. Luke made friends with two fellow musicians during his freshman year at Phillips Academy and after two years of playing together in different settings, the three officially formed the Phillips Trio. Despite junior year being notoriously tough at Phillips Academy, Luke realized that he and his friends were “happiest when playing chamber music together.” They decided to form the trio because, in Luke’s words, “We all just wanted to be happy and have fun together.”
Although competing wasn’t on any of the trio member’s minds originally, the diverse concert program they selected set them up perfectly to participate in the Fischoff Competition. They designed the program to be as “comprehensive” and “accessible” as possible, according to Luke. They centered the program around Beethoven’s Piano Trio No. 5 in D Major Op. 70, No. 1 “Ghost,” pairing it with Shostakovich’s Poème for piano trio, and Paul Schoenfield’s jazz-inspired “Café Music.”
This year’s Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, which took place May 7th-9th virtually, featured 130 chamber groups from over 30 countries. According to Fischoff’s website, “6,800 musicians have participated” since the competition’s founding 1973, and many participants have gone on to have great success in their musical career. Musicians who participate in the competition are given the opportunity to participate in various masterclasses and to learn from fellow chamber ensembles in a supportive environment. Luke compared the competition to “a family reunion,” explaining that the competition “serves as a coming together of friends from around the country and around the world.”
Due to the state of the world right now, Luke and his trio watched the results of the competition over Facetime. According to Luke, they found this moment of “shared excitement” to be especially enjoyable given the loneliness and separation currently experienced by the world. Luke described winning the competition as “a real validation” of his trio’s effort. Indeed, the group had worked hard in the year leading up to the competition, but not for the sake of competing: “rehearsal for us served as a retreat from the stresses of school and life [so] we ended up rehearsing ALL the time.”
The Philharmonic Association is honored to have played a role in nurturing Luke’s truly inspiring creative drive. When asked about his time in the PA, Luke fondly recalled falling asleep in his car on the drive home from a TYP concert where he performed Holst’s The Planets. “It was such a satisfying performance,” Luke explains, “and I remember feeling so wholly committed to playing with every ounce of joy and spirit that I could muster.” He credits the “artistic passion and tireless leadership” of former TYS Director McCrae Hardy and Artistic Director Emeritus Hugh Partridge with greatly strengthening his “dedication to music and performance.”
As an organization, we applaud Luke for his musical success. He has not only won an impressive award, but successfully discovered the true joy that comes from music. We hope that other youth musicians will follow Luke’s example and turn to music as a relief from the stress of life. Bravo, Luke!