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    • Zachary Blake ’19 performs a duet with Alex Zhang ’19 at the First Day Assembly.

Artist of the Issue: Zach Blake ’19

Eleanor Doolittle ’20 Arts Editor
Zachary Blake ’19 is an avid cellist whose passion and dedication to his instrument have reaped great success.
Starting at a very young age, Blake picked the cello due to its resemblance to a Star Wars weapon. “I started playing cello when I was four years old,” said Blake. “I picked it because the bow looked like a lightsaber, and I thought it was the most masculine instrument compared to the high-pitched violin or flute.” Even after fourteen years, his passion for the cello is stronger than ever: “I still love playing the cello,” he said, “because it provides a creative outlet for me from the stress and monotony of college applications and math tests.”

In addition to playing cello in the Hopkins Orchestra, Blake takes part in chamber-music groups, and performs frequently in concerts across the state and even the country. “Earlier in high school, I routinely played solos in recitals around Connecticut,” said Blake. “I was focused on the advancement of my technique and musicality.” For Blake, chamber groups are a “unique way to connect with people whom you’ve known for ages, or you’ve just met.”

Blake’s most memorable time participating in chamber music was when he played in an all violin-cello group called Vivace. Blake described it as “a group of middle-schoolers and high-schoolers who got together on Friday nights and played our own arrangements of contemporary music.”

A highlight of this chamber work was when Vivace made a CD and toured the Bay Area in California. The Vivace delegation consisted of two cellists and six violinists. Blake noted that Vivace’s repertoire included their own arrangements as well as several classical works. “We played contemporary songs such as Fields of Gold, arranged as a cello duo, and Smooth Criminal, but we also performed older music including several Spanish tangos.” He shared that Vivace, “played for a number of charity concerts in the Bay Area as well as a couple of local music schools for under-privileged children.” Blake described it as an incredible experience to travel with a group of musicians as passionate as himself. Blake said, “It was great to be able to play for young kids and show them that classical instruments aren’t just for ‘serious’ classical music.”

The cello continues to bring Blake a great source of relief: “our H-block jam sessions have really started to take the pressure off the stress of weekly recording sessions.” Blake stated, “Recently I have been recording several pieces for college applications as well as experimenting with some cello duets with one of my friends.”

Be sure to check out a recording of Vivace on the Electric Razor!
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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