Sacred Heart eighth grader earns gold in Carnegie Hall debut

by Contributed Content on March 9, 2023

Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) eighth grader Sophia Kaushik (SHP ’27) has grown into a confident performer over the years participating in many of the school’s fine arts programs, from the Voce choir and a capella group Gator Tones, to serving as a cantor during prayer services. The soprano saw her vocal training pay off this semester when she received a gold medal competing at the Forte International Music Competition at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

“[It’s] the dream of any young musician,” Sophia says, recalling the moment she stepped onto the legendary stage.

“I could feel my heart beating, but the moment I began to sing, all my nerves melted away. The Weill Recital Hall was stunning and seeing the full house of people who had come to watch helped me feel excited to perform.”

She was joined by musicians playing a variety of instruments and vocalists from both classical and musical theater backgrounds.

“I loved feeling the energy of everyone’s collective love for music,” said Sophia. “It was amazing to be preparing for my performance alongside musicians and singers from far and wide, including the U.K., the Czech Republic, and throughout the U.S.”

Sophia first learned about the competition from her vocal teacher at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), where she has been studying music theory and vocal performance for the past six years. To prepare, she underwent two preliminary selection rounds, submitting videos of her performances: an art song called The Statue at Tsarskoye Selo by Cesar Cui, and an aria called L’ho Perduta from Mozart’s opera Le Nozze di Figaro.

At Carnegie Hall, the judges asked her to perform L’ho Perduta; she rehearsed with a New York City-based pianist who provided accompaniment during the competition.

“As I sang L’ho Perduta, I felt connected to the piece and the character I was portraying. The beautiful acoustics of the hall made it a joy to sing in.”

After this experience, Sophia says she is even more inspired to continue to study music and develop her vocal skills through the variety of fine arts and performance opportunities offered at Sacred Heart Preparatory (SHP) next year.

“As I prepare for my freshman year, I’m incredibly grateful to the teachers who have worked with me throughout the years, especially Ms. Amanda Poon, our wonderful choir teacher here at the Lower & Middle School, and Christine Abraham, my vocal coach at SFCM.”

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