John-Henry Crawford Performs at City Center Academy in Philadelphia

John-Henry in St. Paul, MN

This past May From the Top alum and cellist John-Henry Crawford (Show 206 in Dallas, TX and Show 219 in St. Paul, MN) performed with Dr. Hung Sung, a collaborative pianist for the Curtis Institute of Music, at the City Center Academy (a high school) in Philadelphia, PA.

John-Henry said “I wanted to do this because hardly any of the students there have exposure to classical music., especially played by someone their age!” Dr. Sung and John-Henry performed the Rachmaninoff Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor, Op. 19.

I was shocked when [the students] came up to me and said “That was beautiful!” because this was a far cry from the hip-hop, rap, and other music they normally listen to.  It made me look at music in a new light- always keeping the audience in mind. They were hearing this music for the first time-a blank slate- while I had been playing it very often.

Check out the video clip below of John-Henry’s performance:

I explained that while Rachmaninoff had suffered depression, he was able to turn around and still compose this beautiful piece.  Whatever sadness they are going through, there is always hope, a new day to start over again. I think that the students took away a new-found reverence for music in general, seeing that all music: classical, jazz, “you-name-it”, can change the way you feel, which is what music really is, changing people’s moods through sound.

This [event] related to my development as a musician because I wasn’t having to worry about all the details my fellow musician friends would be listening for,  and I could just focus on the music and share my emotions with them. This is something that Curtis encourages us to do also “To learn by doing,” and to go out into the community. I think that Curtis, like From the Top, wants us to go out into the world rather than keep classical music in some sort of closed society. Last year ten of us from Curtis got together and hosted a benefit concert at Tenth Presbyterian Church to raise money for a Haitian orphanage after the earthquake there. In one night 10 students raised $30,000 through the generosity of the listeners.

John-Henry was recently asked to play a recital this coming March for the Belz-Parker Ascending Artists Concert Series at Baron Hirsch Congregation in Memphis, TN.  He says, “I feel privileged to be on it since historically they have contracted many teenagers long before there became well-known. Some of the very recognizable names are: Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham , Hilary Hahn, Misha Dichter, and Daniel Barenboim.”

We’ll fill you in on details of this performance when we get closer to March!