Editor’s Note: This year, Humans of CPS is going to publish longer, more detailed, interviews. The year is starting with a series of faculty interviews. If you’re a CPS faculty member who would like to be interviewed, email Anna C, the Humans of CPS coordinator.
“I went to Juilliard, The Juilliard School, for Cello Performance. I started playing cello when I was six, so it was a very big part of my upbringing. I played at CPS, but the thing I did most at CPS was sing in the Advanced Vocal Ensemble. I was the tenor; I guess we needed tenors. I loved it. I loved the goofy Valentine’s Day singing and all of the concerts. I loved tapping into something that wasn’t what I did so much outside of school. And my cello performance was a really big deal; I spent a lot of time after school and also on weekends doing it. It was kind of akin to being a club athlete: a lot of travel, a lot of opportunities to play performances, lots of amazing opportunities to meet new people, and I loved, actually, keeping it a little bit separate from my CPS life. And what’s really interesting is when I was applying to college, I was thinking about what I wanted to do… so I applied to eight schools, which was HUGE back then. I applied to three conservatories and five what I call “regular schools.” It was definitely one of those moments when I had to decide “Do I want to continue to work really hard in academics and music, or do I want to kind of give one of them a priority?” In fact, I was on the waitlist at Juilliard, and I had a deposit set up at Northwestern. I was going to do a dual degree program; I was going to continue like a true CPS kid and do academics AND music at a high level.
I got off the waitlist at Juilliard, and that was my moment where I was like, “This is my chance to really give music a shot and dedicate all my time to it rather than doing it a little bit and not committing to it completely,” which I felt like I kind of did at CPS because, you know, there just wasn’t enough time. And I loved it! I absolutely loved it. I loved my time at Juilliard and wouldn’t change it for anything in the world… and I don’t use my degree now at all. CPS is really important to me because it was my academic foundation; I didn’t go to “real school.” I had humanities classes but I had no, you know, major requirements, so everything that I know now is really based on my love of learning as an adult and the true foundation that I received at College Prep. I mean it was fun. I got to travel all over the world. It was a great experience. It was really wonderful, and some of my really great friends are from Juilliard. A lot of them are musicians, and I love watching what they do and how they are able to make their marks as artists in the world.”
Interview by Phoebe S and Anna C