Not many 17-year-olds get to say they have performed solo at Carnegie Hall, but Madeleine Vaillancourt is one who can.
Vaillancourt, who is just finishing up her junior year at Ward Melville High School, was recently a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York. She performed the Mendelssohn Concerto in E Minor for violin.
Before her performance, Vaillancourt said she got to spend 20 minutes by herself on the stage without the orchestra or the audience, and called it one of the most memorable moments of her life. But first, she had to figure out how to play as loudly as she could in a venue so large.
"It was so insane to hear my sound go so far," she said.
What she learned from the experience was how much focus it took to perform at that level.
"I don’t think I’ve ever been as focused in my entire life," she said. "I had to get into this little mental haven where I wouldn’t be distracted by anyone or anything and do my thing. I was able to do that and it went pretty well."
Her journey to Carnegie Hall started with a video entry into the 2012 Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition, which she eventually won. She has also won the 2011 Kaufman Center Concerto Competition and was a finalist in the 2011 Cooper International Violin Competition. In February, Vaillancourt will begin auditioning for colleges.
Students in Three Village typically begin music classes in school at the fourth grade level, but Vaillancourt, who has been playing the violin for 10 years, began training before that. She studies with acclaimed violinist Nurit Pacht, has taken master classes from numerous professionals, and has also studied music theory and composition.
Dr. Daniel Deutsch, one of Vaillancourt's teachers at Ward Melville, called her "an electrifying musical talent" with strong interpretive and communicative qualities to her musical abilities.
"Her success is the result of her enormous innate ability combined with her extraordinary capacity for hard work," he said. "[She] is tremendously self-motivated, always pushing for excellence, practicing many hours each day. She has deep aesthetic sensibility and is always striving to understand music more thoroughly."
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