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Senior Spotlight: Somerset Peede, viola

Recent News

Senior Spotlight: Somerset Peede, viola

Chloe McIntosh


School: Woodgrove High School

What AYPO ensembles have you played in and for how long? 

I have played in the American Youth Philharmonic (AYP) for two years. I was also an interim violist for the AYPO Chamber Orchestra performance at the National Gallery of Art in January 2017 and an interim quartet violist in February 2018.

Your favorite/most memorable musical memory?

My favorite musical memory was playing in the National Symphony Orchestra Side-by-Side Rehearsal at the Kennedy Center. It was incredible to play next to NSO violist Eric deWaardt and hear the advice that comes with thirty years of experience. Also, the effortless music making of the NSO inspired me to make musical choices that accentuate kinetic grace. 

What musician inspires you and why?

Violist Tsuna Sakamoto inspires me. The clarity of her sound is impeccable and she is always aware of the viola's role in the larger whole. Even more, she is an inspiration because of her dedication to AYPO and the musicians within it. From sectionals to final rehearsals, Ms. Sakamoto supports us as musicians and as students still learning our craft. Her remarkable qualities make her both a gifted and thoughtful coach. I am incredibly grateful for Ms. Sakamoto's advice and encouragement these last two years.

Advice for young musicians?

In music, there is no limit on art, on passion, on the possible. The greatest composers defined eras or defied them with masterpieces once unfathomable. As musicians, we also have this capacity for the impossible. There are times when we sit in front of our music stands (metronome in hand) and have no idea how we will begin. At one point or another, something has been "too hard", "too complicated", "too challenging". Yet all of us are musicians today because we ignored the difficulty and chose to strive. To sum up, my advice to you, young musicians, is to hold on to your determination as you practice when no one is watching. When you have determination and love for your craft, your musical possibilities become infinite. 

What do you hope to do after graduation?

After graduation, I will be attending the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University and pursuing a music performance degree. I hope to cultivate my sound and develop technique that facilitates my passion for music and my instrument. After undergraduate studies, I intend to pursue a master's degree in performance and prepare for job auditions. It would be a dream come true to play in the orchestra of an opera or dance company because I am fascinated by the cohesion of different performing arts.


On behalf of the AYPO, congratulations to Somerset also for her stellar academic achievements, including her recent "Excellence In Education Award" award, top 5% (#6) ranking in her senior class, and 4.57 GPA. Way to go, Somerset!