Jul 28, 2014

Nanuet 13-year-old Showcases Talent at Carnegie Hall

This seventh grader from Felix Festa MS has been playing the piano for seven years

Nanuet 13-year-old Showcases Talent at Carnegie Hall


Nyack’s pumping out some great kids as the chamber orchestra recently left to the 2013 Young Prague Festival Competition

But Nanuet’s not falling behind. Lazar Andjelic, 13 of Nanuet was recognized by the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program. The program awarded him a 2012 Certificate of Excellence for scoring the top marks on his Grade 6 Piano assessment in the academic year ending in August 2012.

This seventh grader at Felix Festa Middle School has received this award four years in a row. Andjelic has been playing the piano for seven years and also plays the trombone in school.

“I feel proud that all my hard work paid off,” he said adding that this achievement means that out of everyone who has taken the Royal Conservatory Exam at this level in the state, he/she has achieved the highest grade. For one to get to this level, he/she needs to have prepared a lot before the exam. For most of these types of exams, such as NYSSMA, students prepare approximately 2-3 months before their examination. You can not do that for this exam. You need to have prepared at least seven months or so, in order to fully reach the potential of your playing skills, technical skills, and ear training skills.

Andjelic’s teacher is Yelena Kuzmenko of the Rockland Conservatory of Music, a Founding School of the program.

“My teacher, Yelena, has helped me so much along the way,” said Andjelic. “She is a very good teacher. She's nice, pays meticulous attention to every little detail, and is very organized with what she wants to get done in every lesson. Although my parents didn't help me too much along the way besides paying for lessons, my grandmother has helped me a lot. She drives me to every lesson, writes down notes on what I need to work on from the lesson, and is great at organizing all of the material I need.”

He joined other winners in a performance at a public recital and award ceremony at Carnegie Hall back in February.

This year’s winners include 11 students from Connecticut, ages 6-15; 14 students from New Jersey, ages 8-12; and 24 students from New York, ages 7-17.

“It was fantastic! There were many great and talented kids who played wonderfully,” he said. “Just from their playing, I could tell how much work they each put in to achieve the level of success that they did.”

“This has been an amazing musical journey for Lazar,” said his mother Sofija Andjelic. “To play Carnegie Hall recital four years in a row. We have been so proud of him and also grateful to Ms. Kuzmenko who is wonderful teacher and opened up this whole world of music to Lazar. Also grandma is helping a lot and we appreciate greatly her efforts with getting Lazar to lessons and reminding him to practice and to pay attention to details. We hope that Lazar will continue to work hard and enjoy music for years to come.”

In addition to recognizing the top scorers in the Music Development Program, Certificates of Excellence were presented to music teachers across the nation to honor the time and effort put forth into training the next generation of great artists. 

“A Certificate of Excellence is an exceptional distinction – the result of a student’s hard work, dedication, and talent – and a testament to the skill and creativity of the recipient,” says Angela Elster, Vice President, Academic, The Royal Conservatory. “Certificate winners represent a national standard of music achievement upheld by support from teachers and parents of music students across America.”

Certificates of Excellence are awarded each academic year (September 1 to August 31) to Music Development Program students in Preparatory A and B and Levels 1 to 10 who achieve the highest standard of excellence in their respective state. Eligible candidates must score at least 80% on their examination and must have completed the co-requisite theory requirements for their respective level and discipline.

The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program provides a recognized national standard of success in music study from beginner to advanced levels. It inspires excellence through individual student assessments that are central to The Program while also supporting teachers with high-quality and innovative resources. The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program allows students to measure and celebrate accomplishment and track their progress across the country. All students and teachers across the United States are invited to participate. To learn more, please visit www.MusicDevelopmentProgram.org.

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