Evan Greenberg awarded the 2024 Frank J. Farina Award for Musical Excellence

My life’s journey has largely been defined by the routine common to most public-school students – early mornings, long days, and homework. My passion and commitment to music distinguishes my journey from that of my peers. Daily band rehearsals, marching or jazz band practice, and evening horn practices are bright spots in my days. If I am tired or anxious about school when I walk into band class, I find forty-five minutes of focused rehearsing rejuvenating, helping me balance the pressure of my day. Playing horn allows me to collect my thoughts and recenter, making me a happier person.

I have learned so much more from participating in band than just how to read notes on a page of music. I learned how to follow a piece of music like it is an adventure, interpreting phrasing and intonation, sometimes taking a leading role and at other times actively listening and blending with an ensemble – important lessons that extend beyond the practice room. Most importantly, I learned that music is amazing.Music can transport me to distant places, literally and figuratively. Music took me to Portugal last summer with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, and it allows me to imagine places and eras that I may never have the opportunity to visit, like Tsarist Russia, through the soaring horn melodies in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. Without music and music education opportunities at school, I would have missed these experiences.

I have been fortunate to successfully audition into every PMEA ensemble that has taken place during my high school career – concert band, jazz band, and orchestra. In just a few weeks, I will be participating in my third PMEA All-State music festival. I look forward to the opportunity to play exciting repertoire, connect with a diverse group of student musicians, and develop relationships with students from other communities. A shared interest in music is a great way to establish a common ground between people. It bridges language barriers, cultural divides, and socio-economic differences. In our divisive world, I believe that finding commonalities to use as building blocks for community connections is invaluable and my involvement in music has been a positive force for me in establishing relationships with others.

I will be attending the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University to study horn performance in the Fall. My professional goal is to push the boundaries of my horn playing through challenging classical and non- traditional repertoire while exploring opportunities to make music more accessible to people of all ages and socio-economic status. I look forward to pursuing opportunities to bring French horn to the forefront of many genres of music. I do not know whether my ultimate path will be as a classical orchestral horn player or whether I will find my career niche in jazz or another alternative ensemble, but I know that my future will involve playing the horn and in a career that is intertwined with music.