The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


A Final Bow

Senior soloists talk about their experiences in music
Listen to an extended version of the interviews above.

On Aug. 24, seniors in Stevenson’s music department auditioned for a chance to play as a soloist in one of the four concerts that the orchestra holds throughout the year. There were four spots, with one spot being given to a duet this year. 

Professors from local colleges judged the auditions, and the students received their results the day after. Unfortunately, while many people tried out, not everyone made it. Oboist Anna Edgcomb ’24, who secured the spot for the duet alongside her twin, flutist Isabel Edgcomb ’24, recounts her approach to practicing her piece.

“It was about making sure you were getting the notes right,” Anna Edgcomb said. “The rhythms were good, the articulation was good because everyone was focusing on you.”

Typically in an orchestra, audiences are absorbed into the blend of the ensemble, but with a soloist on stage, all eyes are focused on them. Given the pressure of this attention, preparations for some started as far back as two years prior. This extended period helped them thoroughly work out any kinks in their performances. Vishal Subramanian ’24, the violinist for the Spring Concert, credits his success to the practice opportunities he’s had.

“I also am applying to colleges with the same piece, so it worked out in my favor,” Subramanian said. “I started the piece in April and since then I’ve practiced the piece every day for two to three hours.”

Similarly, the Edgcomb twins practiced their piece together months before they had even decided to enter the competition. After many hours of dedicated work, the soloists see this not only as an opportunity to perform but also as a way to round out their senior year. Years of experience can help them cope with anxiety levels, but performing as a soloist in an orchestral setting can still be nerve-wracking. Despite this, Pianist Ethan Zheng ’24 is excited to perform his piece, Piano Concerto in A minor, 1st movement, Grieg at the December concert.

“It just sounds really cool and showcases the piano as a really dynamic and powerful instrument,” Zheng said. “It’s a really fun piece to play with the orchestra, so I think we’ll have a lot of fun as an entire group.”

In spite of Zheng never having performed a solo with his current piece before, he was inspired to audition from a concert he watched his sophomore year. Likewise, Isabel Edgcomb drew inspiration from her friend’s positive experience from the previous year.

“My friend last year made it to senior solo,” Isabel Edgcomb said. “She said it was a really good experience and I should try out.”

Stevenson’s senior soloists have dedicated a substantial amount of time to earn their spots for the upcoming concerts. Their passion for music has led them to fall deeper in love with the art and has been a pivotal force in their high school journeys. As artists who have had their fair share of rejections,they now share tips for aspiring musicians.

“I think perseverance is the best thing,” Subramanian said. “There are a lot of losses, but I think each win is so much more valuable than any one of those losses.”

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