ECMS Student Podium-Bound in Louisville, KYApril 23, 2019
ECMS Student Jahshanti Henry was recently awarded a conducting fellowship with the Louisville Orchestra in Kentucky, an opportunity that was made possible by the Sphinx Organization, a group that strives to transform lives through the power of diversity in the arts. In the course of this week-long program Jahshanti will be working with Music Director Teddy Abrams and LO musicians, participating in rehearsals, and meeting with staff and administrators as well as local Louisville arts leaders.
Jahshanti has been a flute student of Jan Angus at ECMS since the fall of 2011 and is also a conducting student of Rachel Lauber. In his time as a student he has been a member of the Pathways Program and the Krusenstjerna Scholarship Flute Choir, attended the Music Horizons summer program, studied piano, and pursued the High School Honors Diploma among many other accomplishments.
I got to ask Jahshanti some questions about this fellowship as well as his past work with ECMS and plans for his musical future:
Eli: What first made you want to get serious about studying music?
Jahshanti: I wanted to get serious about music as soon as I started playing the flute. I realized that music is an art form that must be cherished, and without music life would be meaningless.
Eli: You are a member of the Pathways Program, can you tell me how that has shaped your education?
Jahshanti: The Pathways Program is amazing, and I don’t know where I would be without it. It has enabled me to not only progress as an artistic musician, but also as a young man. There are strict rules set in place in order to stay in the program. They include having a good GPA in school, as well as not getting any referrals or detentions. Those rules shaped my behavior and perspective on school for the better.
Eli: What made you want to branch out from your instrument and try conducting as well?
Jahshanti: I was in the Eastman Music Horizons program in the summer of 2017, and it was the final day before the program came to an end. I was being adventurous and decided to venture from my composition class to the conducting class where I saw my current teacher, Rachel Lauber. With only 1 year of basic conducting thanks to my Dalcroze eurhythmics teacher, Howard Spindler, I tried conducting Dr. Lauber’s string ensemble. That is where I fell in love with displaying my musical ideas and emotions in a new way that wasn’t flute. Working with Dr. Lauber was like no other experience. We connected as soon as we met, and I knew this teacher would forever have a place in my heart.
Eli: What can you share about the process of connecting with the Sphinx Organization and applying for this fellowship, and when will you be heading to Louisville?
Jahshanti: Dr. Lauber has a strong connection with the people at the Sphinx Organization. She always wanted me to think big and conduct a full orchestra, but the opportunity never came our way until the Louisville Orchestra announced that they were going to partner with Sphinx to make this fellowship program accessible for young conductors across America. I am proud to say that I will be in Louisville from May 6th-12th.
Eli: What comes next in your musical education?
Jahshanti: I am still undecided on where I want to go to college, but you can always hear me playing jazz and staying very involved in the Rochester community!
We can all agree that we will have to keep our eyes on Jahshanti’s promising career whether he ends up leading an orchestra, performing as a flute soloist, gigging in jazz clubs, or all three! Congratulations again and best of luck in Louisville!
Eli Campbell; ECMS Media & Events Coordinator