BB&N Student Composer Garners High Honors

Avik Sarkar '19 began playing the piano at age 8, surprisingly late for a high-caliber classical musician. However, Sarkar also began composing music at age 10, surprisingly early...and he hasn't slowed down since. Sarkar was recently named a 2017 YoungArts National Competition Winner by the National YoungArts Foundation, a group that "seeks out, identifies, and recognizes emerging young artistic talent." It's not the first time Sarkar has been recognized for his talents, and after hearing several of his compositions, it's safe to say it won't be the last time.

At a recent student forum organized by Upper School chamber music and orchestra teacher Brian Reasoner, students and faculty listened to several of Sarkar's pieces and had a chance to talk about music with the young composer. Sarkar discussed two pieces in particular; "polarity," a string quartet piece that explores the interplay of two seemingly incompatible scales (B-flat major and E-major), and "Purvi," a piece exploring Indian music themes in a western orchestral style written for and performed by a 60-piece orchestra.

"Although I definitely enjoy all parts of the composition process, my favorite part, and the most gratifying part too, is definitely getting to hear a piece performed," says Sarkar. "It's a really amazing experience to hear music you've written played live, one that always gives you something to learn from."

Sarkar, who also plays the cello, is no stranger to accolades; his compositions have received awards from the ASCAP Morton Gould, Robert Avalon International, Tribeca, National Young Composers competitions, and the Carlos Surinach BMI student composer prize—awarded to the youngest of nine winners chosen from over 700 composers under the age of 28.

As a pianist, Sarkar has performed in recitals at Cadogan Hall in London, UK, Symphony Hall in Boston, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and, of course, BB&N.

Click below to listen to some of Sarkar's work.