By Nora Lowe
Byram Hills junior, Ethan Resnik, premiered his very own musical composition and conducted the Wind Symphony at the recent Spring Concert. His piece was entitled Arrival, and it was an instantaneous success among the BHHS band and musical community. I am writing this article in hope of shedding some light on Ethan’s career as a musician and composer because there is no doubt that he has a bright future ahead of him.
As a member of the freshman concert band, I was extremely excited and impressed when I first heard Ethan’s piece. Ms. Weiss, the BHHS band director, lauded him and was “so proud of Ethan and all of his musical accomplishments…[and the] Wind Symphony – they supported Ethan throughout every phase of the project.” Ms. Weiss elaborates that Arrival “was a shining example of what can be achieved when people work together and bring out the best in each other.”
Ethan has been learning and practicing piano since he was six years old, and he told me that he started to experiment with composing when he was only nine. Ethan is also a prominent contributor to the musical community at BHHS. As a member of the Wind Symphony and Jazz Band, he has dedicated much of his time to the music program. In fact, because of his impressive commitment and determination, Ethan has become the first junior to be the recipient of a senior award.
Still, what truly makes Ethan unique is that he has carried his love of music far beyond the walls of Byram Hills. He plays piano for the senior citizens who reside in the Bristal Assisted Living Facility in Armonk and has given benefit concerts within the community, truly demonstrating his altruistic nature. Ethan even gave various solo piano performances to raise over $3000 for Patient Access Network Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project. Furthermore, he is a student in a pre-college program at Juilliard and spent the past five summers attending a New England Music Program. It is also important not to forget that Ethan has balanced all of his success and obligations with his responsibilities as a student. His school life, just like any other BHHS student, is busy and rigorous. Yet, he still makes time to go above and beyond in his learning.
Fortunately, Ethan’s extensive amount of work and talent has been recognized through his receival of many accomplishments. His triumphs in music competitions and festivals have brought him to Carnegie Hall at eleven, he was recently celebrated in Paris, and he earned second place in American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, American Protégé International Concerto Competition, and first place in the American Fine Arts Festival Concerto Competition. This multitude of musical accomplishments stands as a testament to Ethan’s potential as a musician and composer.
We are truly lucky to have someone as talented as Ethan within our Byram Hills community, and to have been given the opportunity to perform one of his pieces. Ms. Weiss tells me that she has known Ethan since his sophomore year, and it was in the June of that year that Ethan had first described his undertaking of composing Arrival. His composition was the end product of months of hard work and a very strenuous revision process. As Ms. Weiss explains, “The revisions happened in two segments. The first segment consisted of listening to a midi file of his song that was generated from his music composition software and following along with a printed score that he provided.” But that is not where the editing ended. She elaborates that “After several listenings, Ethan and I met to go over the recommended changes.” These revisions dealt with tweaking certain aspects of the piece to adapt it to the Wind Symphony, and the changes included “playing ranges of the instruments, dynamics and articulations, rhythmic complexity, and the transition of thematic material.” To ensure that the piece was perfect, the Wind Symphony played his composition and then reported positive feedback and offered advice.
Overall, to succeed at something, you have to care about it, and Ethan is no exception. His passion for music is very inspiring, explaining, “When I am composing, it’s a way for me to express myself. Hearing other people play my music is as if they are reading my mind.” It is clear that Ethan has a special connection to his music, and he elaborates that,“composing is really fun, and it brings life to empty space. When I am playing or writing music, I see colors in each note and pitch and in the sounds that I hear.”
Ethan’s success both as a part of BHHS and independently is truly exceptional. As he moves forward and continues to explore his passion, there is no doubt he will continue to succeed, and the BHHS community will always celebrate his accomplishments. In fact, BHHS junior and Wind Symphony member, Elena Lowe, noted that, “the members of the band all really loved playing Arrival and were especially excited to play a piece that Ethan had composed and would be conducting.” His premier definitely marked a special occasion and an important step in his advancement as a composer. Ethan shares that “In the future, I hope to continue to perform on the piano and write music. I always enjoy organizing and participating in charity events and helping others because I know that it makes a difference for a lot of other people.” We cannot wait to see where Ethan’s talent takes him next, and if he keeps up with his goals, I am certain that his music will be used to “bring people together and make the world a better place.”