A dedicated member of the Arts Department, senior Theo Stoll has been contributing to the music program at Belmont Hill since arriving on The Hill. Theo has long had a keen interest in music, launching his cello career at the age of ten under the tutelage of Sergey Antonov, the youngest player ever to be awarded the Tchaikovsky Gold Medal. Theo’s impressive resume includes membership in the New England Conservatory and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. It seemed fit to ask how the pandemic has affected his music career. He explained: “Not meeting in person for the final year of the Boston Youth Symphony was pretty unencouraging, and missing out on my final opera performance at Harvard was a shame. We performed a full-length opera every year for the Boston Youth Symphony and that was kind of the highlight of the season for us… that was the one thing we couldn’t pull off virtually.” One thing this musician does not miss, however, is almost falling off the old Chapel’s too-small stage during school orchestra performances.
Although he has enjoyed his time in the Belmont Hill orchestra, a lot of his music career was outside of school. He studied with Lluís Claret, the head of the New England Conservatory strings department, and has taken master classes with famed musicians Ralph Kirshbaum and Yo-Yo Ma. In the future, Theo plans to continue his cello studies in France and Germany and study economics and math at UChicago. He also said he will continue to host the occasional outdoor concert for his neighbors, something he did through last year’s pandemic summer.
Looking beyond the pandemic, Theo looks forward to visiting past teachers like Mr. Sherman and Dr. Fast and playing in person for them as well. In thinking about the past year, Theo observed: “The pandemic gave me a lot of time to practice and think about my relationship with this instrument that I’ve grown up with and dedicated so much time to. I’ve had to grow into the label of ‘cellist’ and I’m grateful that I’ve been supported along the way by my parents.” The Panel wishes Theo the best of luck in his future at the University of Chicago and throughout his cello career.