Eastchester High School junior Benjamin Araujo sat a few rows away from the stage at Carnegie Hall as pianist Irena Portenko performed his original piece entitled, "Nine Portraits for Solo Piano." It is a moment he will never forget.
"I was both excited and nervous, and I felt really amazed," said Ben. "I wanted the audience to be drawn into the music."
On January 8th, the legendary music hall included Ben's composition among the works of Handel, Debussy and Shubert. The concert explored the concept of "hygge," a Nordic word for cozy. Ben wrote the piece approximately two years ago, when he was just 15-years-old.
High School Band Director Mark Dodge has observed Ben's growth as a musician. "Ben's talents and love of music were evident from an early age," said Dodge. "He started to play trombone and then tuba in ninth-grade. In addition to composing music, Ben has also been a featured conductor during our concerts. He is incredibly talented, a pleasure to have in band and jazz band and is a role model for his classmates."
When composing "Nine Portraits for Solo Piano," Ben said he wanted to deliver moods and emotions and to capture the personality of people he knew.
Looking ahead to the future, he would like to attend a college or university where he can study music composition.
He already has a strong portfolio. In 2017, The New York Philharmonic performed another of Ben’s pieces, "A Postcard from New York City," at Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall when he won the Young Composers Program that year.