Florida teen pianist shines at Carnegie Hall
Known for its prestige and exclusivity, Carnegie Hall only allows the best musicians perform in its concert halls. Katie Carlson, a 15-year-old pianist of Jacksonville, was recently one of those musicians.
Built in 1891 by New York City architect William Burnet Tuthill, Carnegie Hall hosts performances by musicians from across the world. Performances there range from famous composers such as Antonin Dvorak to worldwide bands like The Beatles.
Katie qualified to play at Carnegie after she placed second at the 2019 American Protege International Music Competition. She competed in the 13- to 18-year-old age bracket. The annual competition is open for all instruments, vocalists, and folk and jazz groups of all nationalities.
“I was nervous going in,” Katie said. “It was also very cold inside. As a pianist, I play with my hands and if they get cold I can’t play well.”
Her specialty is classical piano.
“I played the last movement of sonata in C major in fast movement,” Katie said. “This means that my fingers are moving very fast as I play.”
Katie’s piece lasted five minutes and she felt relieved when she completed it successfully.
“After I finished, it was nice to see the audience clapping,” she said.
Katie started playing piano at the age of 4. She was born into a family of music as her mother and father both played instruments. They gave her a keyboard when she first started and eventually bought her a real piano at the age of 6. Her parents could see early on that Katie had a natural talent for playing the piano.
“She would just listen to the songs and play them without having a music sheet in front of her,” said Dwight Carlson, Katie’s father.
Katie spends around two hours a day practicing, most of the with her music teacher Mary Lou Wesley Krosnick. Krosnick retired from teaching at Jacksonville University and is a graduate of The Julliard School in New York.
Katie has won several other piano competitions such as Jacksonville’s Musicale Outstanding Young Pianist Competition, the Florida Federation of Music Club’s Florida All State Music Convention and a two-time winner at the Florida State Music Teachers Association District IV Concerto competition.
Katie draws much of her inspiration for her music from the famous pianist Yuja Wang. Like Katie, Wang is a classical female Asian pianist.
“I have really looked up to Yuja Wang for a while,” she said.
Katie is a straight-A sophomore at Stanton College Preparatory School. Although she is focused on her music and schoolwork there, she also is interested in other hobbies. She is involved in her school’s weightlifting team, mock trial team and the theater.
“She is very bright and passionate when she talks about life in general and the other hobbies she has,” Krosnick said.
Although her talents have taken her so far already, Katie said she’s not sure if she wants to take piano to the professional level. But the 15-year-old has plenty of time to decide her future aspirations.
Gabrielle Parzygnat: (904)-359-4697
This story originally published to jacksonville.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.