Northview sophomore plays cello in prestigious Carnegie Hall

Starr Jiang, 15, center, plays the cello during orchestra practice at Northview High School.
Starr Jiang, 15, center, plays the cello during orchestra practice at Northview High School.

Starr Jiang can now add his name to the list of “someone special” chosen to exhibit musical talent at the venerable Carnegie Hall.

The Northview High School sophomore, just back from his trip to New York City, was elated about being one of the students selected for Carnegie Hall's American High School Honors Performance. In its fifth year, the series includes three ensembles of young musicians from around the globe to perform in Honors Orchestra, Band, and Choir.

As a cellist, the 15-year-old student joined the orchestra on the Carnegie stage for Sunday night’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Antonín Dvoƙák’s overture Carnival.

“I was very excited because it’s very prestigious and exciting to play at one of the most celebrated venues in America,” the young Jiang said.

Conducted by Jeffrey Grogan, the young musicians had two days to learn the pieces.

“We worked on a challenging piece, and in a matter of two days we made it performance-level ready,” the young Jiang  said, cautious to give a five-star rating. Nonetheless, the acceptance into the series is an honor. He was the only Sylvania School District student chosen this year.

Last year, three Sylvania high school students were accepted, and included was the young Starr's friend and fellow orchestra companion, Esther Kim, 18.

"I am really proud of him," Ms. Kim, a violinist, said. "Last year, we had three people go and it really inspires and motivates people."

Playing the cello for six years, the Jiang youth chose the large-sized bowed instrument because he wanted his instrument of choice to stand out among the sounds of the string family.

“It has a more deep majestic sound,” he said.

In his opinion, the cello has a larger range of music, as cellists play across three clefs, musical symbols that indicate the pitch of a note.

Although his private teacher, Yang Kun Song, urged him to submit a tape to the Carnegie program, Northview supports student application to prestigious concert programs, such as the Ohio Music Education Association’s All-State Orchestra in Columbus.

“The students accepted [to Carnegie] are high achieving and usually accepted to All-State,” said Pamela Thiel, the young Starr’s Northview orchestra director.

The sophomore was also selected to fill one of the coveted seats in the state orchestra, but it was also held this past weekend.

He was one of four Northview students chosen, and gave up his spot so another Northview student could attend, Mrs. Thiel said.

The Jiang youth said his next aspiration is filling a “top chair” in the All-State Orchestra next year.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.