November 15, 2019

MSM Spotlight: Precollege trio Benjamin Rossen, Ian Maloney, and Sara Yamada

MSM Precollege students Benjamin, Sara, and Ian perform together as a trio in competitions, recitals, and even on NPR radio. Catch them perform this Saturday, November 16 in the Precollege Philharmonic Orchestra concert in Neidorff-Karpati Hall.

The young musicians talk about their experience in MSM Precollege, what they’re working on now, and their dreams for the future, in our latest #MSMSpotlight.

Tell us about what instruments you study.

Ian: Cello is my major and trumpet is my minor. I’m lucky to be in a chamber group with Benjamin and Sara as well, which really enriches my Precollege experience. The Brass Ensemble and quintet provide a lot of valuable experience that I wouldn’t have experienced without MSM Precollege.

Benjamin: I’m a double major in piano and french horn. I’ve been studying piano at MSM Precollege for nine years now, and every year it gets better. I get to take classes in theory and ear training which get more advanced each year, as well as being able to explore different genres and nuances within piano. I also get to play French horn in the Precollege orchestra, which is a completely different style of music as well. MSM really helps us to become well-rounded musicians!

Sara: I’m studying violin—I’m not a double major, so I’m not as cool as Ian and Benjamin (laughs). I really enjoy performing chamber music because it’s so different from performing solo. I love being able to collaborate with other young musicians, it’s really my favorite part of MSM Precollege.

From Left to Right: Benjamin Rossen, Sara Yamada, and Ian Maloney. Photos by Toby Winarto (BM '19, MM '21).

What would you say is the most valuable aspect of MSM Precollege?

Ian: Being able to perform in different chamber groups with both of my instruments has been very valuable. I wouldn’t be able to have this opportunity anywhere else.

Benjamin: I agree with Ian that chamber music opportunities are a huge facet of the program, but for me MSM Precollege gives you an education aside from just performing. We learn theory, music history, literature—these classes really help me with understanding the music I’m playing and learning about new composers and genres.

Sara: Being a part of a community of musicians is a valuable aspect of MSM Precollege. You’re going to keep collaborating with musicians as you continue your music career later in life, so it’s great to have that now.

Tell us about what you’re rehearsing now.

Benjamin: We’re currently working on Arensky’s first piano trio in D minor in preparation for the Precollege Chamber Music Competition in January. We’ve been working together as a group every week, and sometimes we rehearse after the day is over to make sure we’re prepared. We had a great opportunity recently performing the fourth movement of the Arensky trio on From the Top, which is a media platform and radio show showcasing young classically-trained musicians. It’s been great to have so many opportunities with this particular piece. I also have two solo recitals coming up, one in December and my senior recital in March—I’ve actually invited the trio to perform at that which will be really special.

Ian: We have our big Precollege Philharmonic Orchestra concert this weekend which will be great! I’m also practicing for my solo recital next semester.

Sara: I think we may be having a trio concert recital in December, and then I’ll have a solo recital or two next semester.

MSM Precollege gives you an education aside from just performing. We learn theory, music history, literature—these classes really help me with understanding the music I’m playing, and learn about new composers and genres.

(Precollege '20)

What are your long term goals?

Ian: This is my fifth year at MSM Precollege, and it’s made me more confident in my decision to one day attend a music conservatory. In the upcoming summers, I’d like to attend more chamber music festivals. For the last few summers, the three of us have attended Music@Menlo in Silicon Valley which has been really fun.

Benjamin: I’m a senior in high school now, so I’ve been working through the college application process. I’ve played piano at MSM Precollege for nine years and horn for four years. I’m excited to see where both of these instruments will take me as I move into higher education.

Sara: I’m a sophomore in high school and this is my fourth year at MSM Precollege. Like Ian, I’ll be applying to more chamber music festivals this summer because I really enjoy them!

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