LYNNWOOD, Wash., – A Lynnwood teenager has been selected to participate in this summer’s Carnegie National Youth Orchestra in New York City.

Andrew Vinther, a senior at Michigan’s Interlochen Arts Academy, credits spending his senior year in the Wolverine State as the reason he finally achieved his goal of being accepted into the Carnegie National Youth Orchestra. A semester at Interlochen gave him the focus he needed to put in the work required to be accepted at Carnegie, he says.

Andrew Vinther on Double Bass and Miles Zaud on Piano.

He had applied to be accepted twice before.

“It finally worked out this time around,” he said, adding that after graduating high school a musician is not eligible for the NYO anymore, so this was his last chance.

He flies to New York on June 25, although the journey started a long time ago.

He had to submit an essay, he had to submit a solo piece, four orchestra double-bass excerpts from various symphonies, multiple letters of recommendations and record a video statement.

“I knew it was a really big deal and I really wanted to push myself,” he said. “I had a good feeling that if I pushed myself, I would get the results I wanted.

He said he found out from Carnegie in January, but that the institution did not go public with the chosen names until this month. Vinther is one of two Washingtonians selected. The other, Elliott Lee, from Seattle, is also a bass player.

“We know each other pretty well too, so it’s pretty exciting,” Vinther said.

Described by Vinther as “pretty much the most prestigious high school ensemble that there is in the country,” the NYO gathers some of the best high school musicians in the land. It’s an amazing chance to make great music with great musicians “who are just as driven as I am,” Vinther said. Not only that, it’s 100 percent free.

Andrew Vinther, Bach Cello Suite One – Prelude.

This is happening for Vinther in 2021, so it’s a bit different NYO than in a “normal” year. Every year, the NYO musicians selected go on an international tour. This year, there’s a certain virus that’s been in the news which has dashed many a travel plan. So instead of a planned tour of Asia, the musicians will stay in New York and be part of a summer residency at Purchase College in Harrison, N.Y., an hour north of the Big Apple. The residency includes live-streamed performance and as many outdoor concerts as possible.

Thinking of life after the five-week Carnegie residency, Vinther said the big goal remains to become a professional musician someday. College awaits and with it, a lot of college festivals he can apply to.

During his younger years, he participated in the Cascade Youth Ensemble, and the Seattle Youth Symphony, the Bellevue College Jazz Band and the Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Band. MTHS was his school from grades 9-11 before his move to Michigan.

Vinther started playing the bass at 9 and he has been playing it literally for half his life. Now an 18-year-old, he calls the instrument “an extension of my own voice.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to express what we are feeling with words,” he said. “And the best way to truly get out what we are feeling and how we want to portray our thoughts is through music. So, I feel blessed to have the opportunity through my instrument and I really don’t know what I would do without it.”

To listen to more of Andrew Vinther’s performances, visit his YouTube channel by clicking here.


By Sebastian Moraga, Contributor to the Lynnwood Times

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