“I'm excited to play music all day — and most of all — to meet students from Shanghai and around the world, to make some friends, and then perform together!” - Suzie ’26
Fifth grader Suzie is the youngest of 31 students from New York traveling this Friday to China
to participate in the inaugural Shanghai Music Festival hosted by the Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School.
Suzie, a pianist enrolled in the Pre-college Program at Juilliard, will join eighth-grader Katelyn Moon, a violinist who also studies in the same prestigious program for students ages 8-18 who exhibit the talent, potential, and ambition to pursue serious music study at the college level.
Suzie, Katelyn, and all our musicians from New York will gather with more than 100 students from Dwight Schools in London, Seoul, Dubai, Shanghai, and online, for this exciting cross-campus learning and creative collaboration. Previously, we hosted this program in New York with concerts at Carnegie Hall, including last year’s celebration of Chancellor Stephen Spahn’s 50th anniversary.
Continuing this long-standing tradition of bringing students from our global campuses together to share and showcase their talents and cultures, this ten-day Festival will conclude when all performers — singers, musicians, and dancers — take to the stage at the beautiful, historic Shanghai Concert Hall to perform "The Music of Spring."
Accomplished Musicians at an Early Age
Both Suzie and Katelyn are quite experienced, having performed solo recitals at international music festivals and illustrious venues, including Merkin Concert Hall, He Lutin Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, and the Music School of Shanghai.
Though their training has prepared them well for the Shanghai Music Festival, both girls are a bit nervous — and both are very excited to perform with students from other campuses. “I will be playing the piano for two songs and also collaborating with others,” shares Suzie, “but I learned chamber music at Juilliard and also played some concertos with my teacher in China before, so I kind of know what it feels like — and I’m really excited!”
Katelyn, who has served as concertmaster of the Pre-college String Ensemble shares Suzie’s enthusiasm for the collaboration: “At Juilliard and Dwight, I've had many performance opportunities, so I'm not as nervous about that part. At both schools, I've also met and collaborated with lots of people musically, so I’m excited to work with a whole new group of students from different countries.”
For Suzie, this trip is close to home! She’s from Haikou, China, a city in the island province Hainan, about two hours away from Shanghai. She is looking forward to returning to China to perform: “It will be special to go back with others, especially with Dwight School. It feels nice to have other musicians to play with!”
Suzie began playing piano at the age of four, and after just one year placed second in China's National Piano Competition. Thus began a string of successes for the very young musician. She won competitions with each passing year, including first prizes for the 2014 Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, 2015 Pearl River-Kayserburg Chinese Youth Piano Competition, and Special Prize for The 79th Steinway International Youth Piano Competition, China Area. Last year, Suzie won the Princeton Steinway Youth Piano Competition and placed second in the Juilliard Concerto Competition.
Katelyn also started her musical career at a young age, first bringing a bow to strings when she was six. At age eight, she received First Class Honors in the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program for her performance in violin study. At nine, she appeared as a soloist with the Camerata Virtuosi New Jersey Orchestra. Katelyn has also won numerous awards, including first prize at the 2014 New York International Music Competition; third prize in 2015 and second in 2016 at the International Grande Music Competition; and Bronze at the 2016 International Virtuoso Competition. She placed third at the Juilliard Concerto Competition in 2017; and first in the “Best Bach Performance” and “Rising Talents of America” of the Great Composers Competition.
Katelyn is thrilled to travel to Shanghai, saying, “I've never been to Asia before — and I've never gone that far for a performance! It's a really big step for me!” She looks forward to the concert and to the brand new experiences the trip will bring, sharing, “I'm excited to see a whole new culture and to see what happens on the trip!”
A Whirlwind Week of Music and More!
When all of our New York travelers arrive in Shanghai this weekend, their schedules will be chock-full, from morning to night. After meeting their Dwight peers from around the world and discovering the rich historic sites of the city, they will participate in a series of music workshops, which will include hundreds of Shanghai students.
Finally, they will rehearse with fellow members of the Dwight Schools global orchestra, choir, and several smaller ensembles slated to perform on Saturday, February 23. The concert will feature a mix of classical, jazz, pop, rock, and traditional Chinese and Korean music — and it will be streamed live from the Shanghai Concert Hall! The time — 3 pm in Shanghai; 4 am in New York — may prove a bit challenging to those of us here!
Time zones aside, we can’t wait to see and hear Suzie, Katelyn, and all their international peers share their musical sparks of genius!