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Artist of the Issue: David Cho ’23

Looking back at his Belmont Hill experiences, David Cho ’23 doesn’t miss a heartbeat to talk about his musical contributions to the school. Since Form I, David has graced the Belmont Hill community with his cello repertoire, from playing a duet piece with his brother for graduation in his first year here to leading the school orchestra in season concerts as the Co-Vice President. 


David is most proud of being able to perform for the community in meaningful ways. While he has many fond memories of his time playing music at Belmont Hill, the recent Centennial Arts Chapel and celebration song recording project stick out to him. Although playing for the school orchestra is a great time commitment, David relishes the fact that it trained him to better balance his schedule, and he found playing with other students a very worthwhile experience. Because the school orchestra is small in size, and has a majority of players as cellists, David has had the opportunity to play parts for different instruments. Along with exploring types of music he wouldn’t have the opportunity to do elsewhere, he got to play parts usually written for violins, violas, and basses. David embraced this unusual circumstance to assist the orchestra. From his school orchestra experience, David had the chance to play music by rock bands and songs from movies, some being Led Zeppelin and Pirates of the Caribbean. Besides the school orchestra, David has explored music in other ways, like an independent study of music theory. 


Outside of school, David plays for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO) organization. Since Form V, he has played for the highly-esteemed Boston Youth Symphony. Under the leadership of the conductor Federico Cortese and cello-coach Steve Laven, David has played pieces of extreme technical difficulty. David has played in Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, Sanders Theatre, and more. At BYSO, David has built a resume of fine repertoires, like Tchaikosky’s Romeo and Juliet, Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and Beethoven’s Leonore Overture. Last year, BYS performed Mahler’s 6th Symphony, a monster one hour fifteen-minute piece of chaotic emotion. 


Among the pieces and challenges David has encountered at BYSO, his favorite performances are the opera productions. Last year he played Verdi’s La Traviata Symphony Hall; having rehearsed the opera since August for a January concert which was postponed due to COVID, the long wait to play the opera in April only made to experience more meaningful. Playing a semi-staged production of an opera is rare for the youth level, but David has played in two of them. This year he was the assistant principal cellist for BYS’s performance of The Damnation of Faust by Berlioz. While the piece is very challenging, even for professional orchestras, David’s passion for music and cello motivated him to practice for months to master the music, and he enjoyed a successful performance.. BYSO has been a particularly rewarding experience because of the close nature of the community. Every year, the orchestras head off to Maine for a sleep-away preseason camp, and there the bond of music ties every member together in a special way. Additionally, David is proud to play in this year’s All-State Festival. 


In college, David plans to continue playing the cello. He hopes to study more solo repertoire through private lessons and connect with others in an orchestra; he even plans to expand his ensemble experience by joining a cello group. The Panel thanks David for his musical contributions to the Belmont Hill community and wishes him all the best in college. 


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