Teen travels to Boston to hone clarinet skills
Published in SanTan Sun News July 19, 2014
A 16-year-old Chandler student is calling Boston University his summer home as he perfects his clarinet performance at a workshop for teens.
“I have certainly developed incredibly as a player,” says Thomas Desrosiers, who attends Corona de Sol High School.
Desrosiers is participating in Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute Clarinet Workshop and Young Artists Wind Ensemble through Monday, July 28. He was accepted into the program after providing an audition videotape of him playing a few clarinet excerpts and two contrasting solo pieces.
“In March, BUTI offered him a spot and a scholarship. A week later, CWU (Central Washington University) offered him a spot and a scholarship,” his parents, Julieta and Bob Desrosiers, explain in a joint emailed statement. “It was a difficult decision, but we opted to focus solely on BUTI’s two-week clarinet workshop. We thought that was the end of it, but later received another invitation to participate in BUTI-Young Artists Wind Ensemble, a four-week program right after the clarinet workshop.”
The scholarship was a very nice offer, but we still could not afford the second program. After a few calls back and forth, Thomas received a hefty scholarship to attend the Young Artist Wind Ensemble for almost free of charge.”
Since arriving at the camp, Thomas has participated in ensemble rehearsals, individual practices and attended afternoon concerts. He says he has learned a lot of new ideas, techniques and materials.
“It is really incredible because it is such a high level of playing and high level of maturity,” Thomas says. “Back at home, there would be only a few kids practicing 10 hours in a day. Here it is everyone. You get to be with your own kind in a way because they enjoy the same things you do.”
The camp, Thomas says, develops individuals into players, not only during the weeks they are enrolled, but when they return home. He says the Boston University camp provides ample opportunities to make connections with professors and guest artists.
Thomas says he came to the camp hoping it would guide him toward a career path.
“I came to this camp hoping it would be a deciding factor of whether or not I would pursue music in the future or science,” he says. “Even though it has been almost a month of being here, I still have not come to a conclusion.”
Alexander Borodin, an 1800s composer and chemist, is the teen’s inspiration.
“He was not only a great performer, but a noted chemist,” Thomas says. “He found time to do both science and music, which is really what I admire.”
Thomas’ interest in the clarinet began while he was in fifth grade after a musician visited his elementary school and demonstrated various instruments. The sound of the clarinet grabbed his attention, and he has kept it for the past five years because of its versatility.
He says he can play jazz or classical music with the clarinet with a dark tone or bright clear sound.
“It can really do anything depending on the player,” Thomas explains.
He is a member of the Youth Ensemble at Phoenix Youth Symphony. In the fall, he will join the Youth Symphony of Southwest and will continue playing with the Wind Ensemble at Corona del Sol High School and King of Glory Clarinet Choir.