Two students at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School recently learned that they have been chosen to play in a recital this summer in Vienna after participating in a Golden Key competition in Princeton, Wise, a 10th grader at RFH, and Siwulec, a 9th grader, are both students of Mrs. Marina Strakovsky, a piano teacher in Rumson, and are excited to be given this opportunity in their music career.
The Viennese festival is open to pianists age five to twenty-six and includes two performances at Viennese concert halls, including a Mozart show and the main performance, where each student performs their competition piece. Other activities include master classes for each participant from notable European pianists, a talent show for students and their families, visits to music and art museums, attendance at recitals of festival musicians, and a tour of historic Vienna, Eisenstadt, and Salzburg. The festival allows students to immerse themselves both in Austrian history and music.
Wise and Siwulec had decided, with the help of their teacher, Mrs. Strakovsky, to take part in the Golden Key competition in Princeton. During this past summer, they both picked a classical piece within their levels. Both worked strenuously through the fall to perfect it and finally sent a CD of their piece to the Golden Key competition in early December. Competitors are given the option of either performing in person or sending a CD of their chosen piece. Wise and Siwulec learned on Christmas Eve, that they had been chosen to play in Vienna this summer.
Wise, who has played for ten years, says he is looking forward to this opportunity. It will increase his experience within his music career as he plans to continue piano throughout college, possibly even as a major. He does plan to accept Golden Key’s offer to go and play his piece in Vienna this summer. His most anticipated part of the festival is the main recital in a Viennese concert hall. He would also like to thank his parents and Mrs. Strakovsky for helping him along his journey to Vienna. He plans to take his mother and possibly some other family members and will be accompanied by his piano teacher, Mrs. Strakovsky , and his friends and festival participants, Siwulec and Kasey Grieco, on his journey this summer.
When asked to comment on the festival in Vienna, Wise said, “I’m really excited and looking forward to Vienna! It’s gonna be a great experience for me and my career!”
Siwulec is also looking forward to this music festival. She also plans to go to Vienna with her mother, her teacher, and her piano friends. She however is mostly looking forward to a lesson from a notable European pianist. Siwulec, who has just started playing seriously in the past one and a half years, would also like to thank both Mrs. Strakovsky and her parents for their help and support. She thinks this festival will give her a chance to better her music skills and have fun with her mother and others.
Siwulec says, “I still can’t believe I made it! I am so lucky to have been awarded this wonderful musical and cultural experience!”
Grieco, a student at Red Bank Regional, was also among those accepted to the Viennese festival. It is no surprise that Kasey was chosen as he is both a piano major at RBR and a long-time student of Mrs. Strakovsky. One could say piano is in his blood.
Each musician feels fortunate to have been awarded this honor and will be taking off for Vienna this summer along with their families. Look for the next article on the Vienna festival as the event nears!