Alumni Stories - In Focus

Andrew Abrahamsen '14 Featured in the IB Global News Spotlight!
Andrew Abrahamsen '14 Featured in the IB Global News Spotlight!

Congratulations to Andrew Abrahamsen '14, whose musical spark of genius has been heard around the world! Prior to graduation, Andrew was selected by the editors of the IB's global e-newsletter, which goes to 30,000 readers worldwide, to be the IB of the Americas regional student in the spotlight. Andrew's passion for music and exceptional talent, along with his original musical composition, "Sanctuary," captured their attention.

Andrew, who has been playing the piano since early childhood and is well on his way to becoming a professional musician, composed the piece at Dwight as part of his IB Music higher learning-level requirements. He debuted "Sanctuary" alongside a professional ensemble at our Carnegie Hall concert earlier in the year, where students from Dwight campuses in New York, London, and Seoul came together to share the universal language of music. 

"I was humbled and honored to represent Dwight School with my composition because it symbolized the culmination of my work as a musician throughout high school," shared Andrew, whose memorable moment on center stage can be seen here. Heading to Carnegie Mellon University in the fall, Andrew shares the inspiration behind "Sanctuary" in the IB's global e-newsletter:

DP student Andrew Abrahamsen performs at Carnegie Hall

June 24, 2014 

This article originally appeared in IB Global News, which provides an array of news and information about IB programmes, professional development 
and research.

IB Diploma Programme student, Andrew Abrahamsen, from Dwight School, New York, tells how he recently performed one of his own musical compositions—“Sanctuary”—at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall in New York.


Andrew Abrahamsen performing at Carnegie Hall

Q: What inspired you to write “Sanctuary”?
“Sanctuary,” like so many of my other compositions, was born out of the desire to create something new and unlike my previous works. Creativity is not always the product of conscious effort: I began composing “Sanctuary” as part of my IB music HL requirements with creativity itself in command. I intended it to be serious and even sinister in order to explore darker moods. Once I had decided on the chord progressions, I took the piece into a slightly different direction that was still harmonically dark, but much less ominous and with sections of relief.

Q: How did it feel to perform on this world-renowned stage?
I was humbled and honored to represent Dwight School with my composition because it symbolized the culmination of my work as a musician throughout high school. I appreciate that my school feels as strongly about my music as I do; to showcase this score and have it take center stage. None of this would have been possible without the unwavering support of my music teacher and mentor, Mr. Hamilton, who pushes me to become the best musician I can be. I will remember the experience forever.

Q: What is your ultimate goal with regards to your music career?
I hope to professionally compose, perform and record my own musical pieces for people across the globe to enjoy. I love it when my music can make others happy. My hope is to contribute to what I believe is the purpose of all genres of music: to inspire others and add flavor to life.

Q: What advice would you give to younger students who are considering a course of study in the arts?
They should just try it. Be patient and work hard – give yourself time to develop as an artist. As you improve technically, the music, visual arts, film or theatre class may develop into a passion, an enjoyable life-long hobby or even a profession. There is no way of knowing without trying.

Q: How has your engagement with music as part of the IB Diploma Programme helped your musical achievements?
The Diploma Programme has inspired me beyond my original talents, not only by demanding and encouraging more, but also by providing me with great opportunities to fuel my drive. It has been challenging work, but the results have been more than gratifying. My devoted teachers have given me the opportunity to grow and reach my potential.

Watch Andrew’s performance at Carnegie Hall.