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The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

Cal High concertmaster reaches wider audience

Senior violinist Aaron Hsi leads school orchestra to success
Aaron+Hsi+performed+at+Carnegie+Hall+in+the+spring+of+2022.+He+is+the+concertmaster+for+Cal+High%E2%80%99s+orchestra+this+year.
Photo courtesy of Aaron Hsi
Aaron Hsi performed at Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2022. He is the concertmaster for Cal High’s orchestra this year.

With the violins, violas and cellos under his wing, senior Aaron Hsi has guided Cal High’s orchestra this year while perfecting his craft.
Hsi has won many international competitions and been invited to Carnegie Hall to perform as an experienced concertmaster.
Additionally, Hsi achieved the rank of concertmaster two years ago and won many international and local competitions with several orchestras.
Aside from his musical talent, Hsi’s achievements include an American Protégé International’ first place award at Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2022, as well as multiple other prestigious first place awards throughout the globe. Aside from prestigious competitions, Hsi is the concertmaster for Cal High’s orchestra program.
On a normal day, Hsi practices four to five hours a day to sharpen his skills as a talented violinist and concertmaster, but with college apps, Hsi spends only two to three hours practicing.
“Aaron is an extremely conscientious and dedicated student,” orchestra teacher Lori Willis said.
Concertmaster is a title given to an experienced violinist who not only has the qualifying skills as a player, but the leadership needed to guide the orchestra to success.
Hsi’s role of being Cal’s concertmaster includes communicating with different sections of the orchestra and choosing different musical pieces to perform at concerts.
Cal’s orchestra consists of three different sections – cellos, violas and violins – and a sole piano player. The viola and cello sections are each led by principals and assistant principals. The violin section consists of the first chair and second chair with the concertmaster and associate concertmaster leading the group.
Typically the concertmasters are adults because they tend to have more experiences. Hsi’s title of concertmaster shows his commitment.
Besides his passion and comitment to orchestra, there are challenges being a young conecertmaster.
“Sometimes it is difficult to get everyone to take [me] seriously especially if you’re a lot younger,” Hsi said.
In Cal’s orchestra, Hsi is part of the first chair, meaning he is in charge of the violin section. Prior to performances, he is also required to lead sectional rehearsals by ensuring a postive collaboration between the violins, violas and cellos.
“[Hsi] is always supportive of everyone and [helps others] when [they] need help working on a section or part,” junior Spencer Kogoma said.
Kogoma is an associate concertmaster and assists Hsi with his responsibilities. He collaborates with Hsi in order to execute musical and interpretive ideas.
“[Hsi] whips the first violins into shape,” senior Rex Ouyang, the sole pianist in Cal’s orchestra said.
The orchestra features 20 violinists that are led by Hsi and Kogoma.
“[Hsi has] grown with the group and [is] a very strong leader,” Willis said.
Hsi is heavily involved with the program and has played with Cal’s orchestra since freshman year. Before Hsi’s high school music career, he started playing the violin at the age of six because of his parents’ influence.But he continued as his passion for music grew into his own.
As Hsi grew older, he liked playing the violin more and more because he found challenges that piqued his interest.
Aside from Cal’s orchestra program, Hsi performs with the Castro Valley Orchestra, East Bay Youth Orchestra, Melody Connect, and Horizons Ensemble. With Hsi playing for several orchestras, he is presented with more opportunities to increase his skill level and attend more competitions in the future.
“[Hsi] is a very talented musician,” sophomore violinist Cindy Jin said. “He developed a lot of his time leading our orchestra.”
Hsi plans to play in a college or community orchestra because playing as a professional concertmaster requires a lot of time and effort when playing for a well known orchestra.
“I definitely want to keep playing solo, as well as a concertmaster.” Hsi said.

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About the Contributor
Gabrielle Huie, Staff Writer
Gabrielle Huie is currently a sophomore and this is her first year with The Californian as a staff writer. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and playing lacrosse for Cal High and her club team. She is looking forward to improving her writing skills and meeting new people.

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