Our Strategic Vision

The Young Music Men and Women of BFS

                              Violinist Claudius A.

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.
– Plato


Francisco V. entered the BFS eighth grade on an academic scholarship last year. His passions include astronomy, World War II history, soccer, martial arts and squash. Despite the unique scope of his interests he’s perhaps best known around the school for his tremendous musical talents on flute, guitar and electric bass in the school jazz band.  Francisco also takes classes at Juilliard and is currently learning the alto-sax.  He seems to have many career options before him but for now this rising ninth grader plans on a career in music.  “My ideal profession is to become a classical musician in a symphony or a philharmonic,” he said.  His musical heroes include Freddie Mercury and Brian May of Queen, flutist Hubert Laws, “and,” he added, “my mom.”

Ruth L. playing the oboe in concert

Fellow eighth grader Ruth L. has been playing oboe since third grade and is accustomed to performing recitals several times a year across the city in addition to attending music school summer camps and singing in the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. She also plays extracurricular sports including swimming, basketball and tennis at area organizations.  “This year I got even more serious with playing the oboe,” she said, “so I quit the swim team and the chorus.”    In their places she joined the InterSchool Orchestra of New York City and the semi-professional Camerata Music Company Orchestra as well as a chamber music ensemble, all while continuing to study music privately.  AT BFS she plays sax in the Middle School Jazz ensemble and, like Francisco, played in the pit for the musical Ragtime. Last year she acted in the school production of Guys and Dolls and plays on the school’s volleyball and basketball teams.  Academically she leans more toward the humanities, especially English and History, than the science although she stresses that she does well in both areas. Will she pursue a career in music? For now that’s too hard to predict.  “I honestly haven’t looked that far into my future,” said the wise eighth grader.  “I’m completely aware of the struggles musicians all over the world have with getting gigs, but I also love playing the oboe and it’s a part of who I am as a person.”

In the Upper School, violinist Claudius A. is particularly fond of his English classes this eleventh grade year.  “I love reading and leading class discussions about our readings,” he said.  “This year we had a unit on film analysis. I was particularly successful at analyzing movie adaptations of books and comparing them to their original text.” He also hones his public speaking skills in the Model UN club of which he is an active member. Over the course of four conferences he has twice been awarded Outstanding Delegate and has received one Honorable Mention.  An accomplished musician, Claudius has taken private violin lessons since he was five.  “I started learning at the Abrons Art Center in Manhattan,” he said.  “I then moved on to take classes at Juilliard Music School. I’m currently a member of the Mannes School of Music’s Prep division, studying with Shirley Givens.”  He has taken music classes at BFS since entering the school in sixth grade and performs in three school orchestra concerts annually, including playing in the pit for Ragtime along with Middle School classmates Francisco and Ruth.  He is most decidedly planning for a career in music, either as a professional performer or as a teacher.

Sophomore Miranda  C. excels on piano and clarinet.  “I’ve played piano for almost 11 years and clarinet for five,” she said.  She joined the school’s Chamber Ensemble when she entered BFS last year. She supplements her music education with private lessons that include annual piano recitals, and she has also graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall and Christ & St. Stephen’s Church.   “My love for music will never leave me,” she said. “I can’t imagine my life without a piano, or making music in general.”   Miranda’s also immersed in science and world languages.  “The scientific aspects of our surroundings have always intrigued me and made me wonder more about our world,” she said.  Additionally, she studies Spanish and is in her second year of Latin.  “I love challenging my mind to comprehend an ancient language,”  she said.  This year she has also taken Islamic History and Modern Latin America, and Honors Algebra II, ” a challenging class full of light bulbs going on every day,” and US Literature, where she has been turned onto classics like The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby.  She also enjoys art class, junior varsity volleyball and varsity track, and serves as 10th Grade Secretary in the Student Senate.  Her longtime career interests lie outside of professional music despite her accomplishments. Whatever her life choices, she intends to keep music close by her side.