Alexa Zammit Selected As National Science Foundation Fellow
Congratulations to Alexa Zammit '18 for being named a recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)! This honor will provide her support as she pursues a master's degree at MIT.
Read more here.
We're so proud of you, Alexa!
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT 5/2021
Welcoming Class of 2020 alumna, violinist Sophia Teng, for our next Alumni Spotlight! She joined Stretto's beginner strings program in fifth grade before ultimately becoming concertmaster in her senior year of high school.
Tell us about your life! What are you up to now?
I am currently a freshman in the College of Engineering at Cornell University and am planning on majoring in mechanical engineering and possibly minoring in CS! I have really enjoyed being on campus in the fall and spring because I got to meet so many more people than I would have online. I've learned a lot of new things from coding the backend of an app to designing in Figma, and I'm super excited to start working on CUAir building an autonomous plane!
What's a fun fact about you?
I am sooo close to trying all of the flavors at Kung Fu Tea (I've tried everything except for the slushes).
What's your favorite Stretto memory?
Tours! The water at the beach in Sicily was so clear, and the gelato was amazing and cheap.
What was your favorite piece you played in Stretto and why?
I liked the Brandenburg Concerto because it had so many parts and I like Bach. It was very interesting to hear everything come together. There was also another piece, the Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings, that was really fun because it was so challenging! At that point I was still developing and learning and it was a very difficult piece of repertoire but I really enjoyed it.
What advice would you give to current Stretto members?
The leadership experience you take away from Stretto is super valuable when you play in a group. Sometimes Sherri doesn't conduct, and it's great because you learn to listen and cue other people by breathing together. It's very valuable to hone these ensemble abilities. Stretto gives you opportunities to work on these skills, and knowing how to do these things will make you a much better player!
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT 2/2021
Welcoming Class of 2015 Stretto alumnus, Cortize Hicks, for the second installment of our "Alumni Spotlight" series! Cortize graduated from Bensalem High School in 2015. During his time at Stretto, he proved to be incredibly talented, playing both violin and viola.
Tell us about your life! Where are you headed?
My main goal is to eventually become a software engineer. I also want to go back to school for being a teacher and do what I love most— teaching violin to people. I can't wait to get that opportunity! People say I'm crazy but I want to teach high school. I want the kids to understand that the arts are actually meant to be focused on.
What is a fun fact about you?
In 2015 I fell in love with ultimate frisbee. It's one of my favorite sports to play. All my friends in the Philadelphia community helped open my eyes up to see that it's a pretty cool to play a sport that isn't football or basketball. Growing up I thought football was the sport I was going to play, but it turns out ultimate frisbee was it. And it saves my violin hand! No broken fingers or anything.
What's your favorite Stretto music?
Two amazing pieces were the Barber Adagio for strings and the Vitali Chaconne. They stood out because it felt like being in a movie. They were very beautiful but very difficult!
What's your favorite Stretto memory?
In the 2016 tour to China, I tried to wake up to see the sunrise at the Great Wall, but it didn't work out. It was still fun though— it was nice to be able to connect with my peers and enjoy the vacation while we played beautiful music.
What advice do you have for current Stretto members?
Things are tough sometimes but when you get there you can get it done. It took me time to realize that I needed to just be patient and not overwhelm myself because everyone is in their own situation. Don't stress yourself. Take it one day at a time. You want to do all these things, but you have to make a plan to get where you want to be.
Thank you so much to Cortize Hicks! Stay tuned for our next alumni spotlight!