They say that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place, but one KO student has turned that old adage on its ear. In his tender years, Rohan Naik ’20 was selected to perform in not one but two acclaimed music halls in the same year. Following his selection into a prestigious performance group at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Naik was tapped to play the violin at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia this summer.
Traveling with his family, the Naiks took in the sights of the city after catching up on a 14-hour sleep due to jet lag. From touring China town, feeding an insatiable kangaroo, watching dolphins in translucent water, climbing the vertiginous Sydney Harbor Bridge while wearing harnesses with his intrepid mom, the family embraced every moment together.
After saying their goodbyes, Naik connected with the 100 other student musicians selected from over 10,000 applicants. (Naik sent his audition tape of online audition of a Vivaldi concerto, that served him well in his Carnegie Hall acceptance.) The musicians from the Philippines, Ireland, South Korea, and China woke up at 6:00 a.m., scarfed down a bowl of cereal and got down to practicing in the hotel ballroom in the mornings and in the afternoons. In between the practice times, the students toured more of Sydney and watched a light show on the exterior of the iconic Opera House in the evening.
Naik admitted that the rehearsals were “long, hard and painful,’’ but the conductor and composer Kirt Mosier was an easy-going taskmaster. The students performed the music from Shindler’s List composed by the renown John Williams, Steven Speilberg’s go-to person for some of the most iconic music film scores. (Think Jaws dun dun...dun dun.) As an added bonus, the students were able to Facetime with Williams who Naik described “as a guy just chilling in the studio.” In addition to the Schindler's List score, the musicians played the demanding and highly technical Symphony #4 by Shostakovich.
“I did have expectations for Carnegie Hall, but the Sydney Opera House delivered a lot more than I expected in looks, sound, feel, and sensations. It was incomparable. You couldn't find a place to play that is much better,” Naik said.