Musician Spotlight: Alec Tonno

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Alec Tonno, a CHS senior, has been playing violin for nine years. In addition to being first-chair violinist in Chamber Orchestra, he is a member of the 2014 New Jersey All-State Orchestra and has been a member of the New Jersey Youth Symphony since 8th grade, traveling to Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague. Favorite classes include math, science, and French.

What is something no one knows about you?

I usually put "I play violin" for this, but I guess I could say that I knew all the countries of the world when I was 6.

What are some past achievements?

I have won a few awards here and there (3rd place and Heifetz Award in the Young Artists' Competition in 2013, Mayo Performing Arts Center Musician of the Month in 2014,), I am currently in the 2014 New Jersey All-State Orchestra, and I have been a member of the New Jersey Youth Symphony since 8th grade (with whom I travelled to Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague this past summer and tied for First Place in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival).

Who is your favorite composer / band / genre of music?

My favorite composer is probably Dvorak, although there are plenty of other excellent composers, such as Tchaikovsky and Mahler.

Describe yourself in one word.

Reserved. Even though I play violin and that involves performing, I prefer to watch things happen and keep to myself. (I also have bad performance anxiety).

Is there any competition between you and other violinists at CHS? If so, how does it affect you?

There hasn't been too much competition between me and other violinists at CHS, and there are plenty of other talented violinists. We work together in order to make our section in Chamber Orchestra sound the best as it can. Outside of school, there is a lot more competition, and it makes me work harder, because I want to do as well as I can.

How do you handle violin practice, schoolwork, and extracurricular activities all at once?

It's not easy to do, especially now that I have college applications and auditions to prepare for. I try to use free time during the day to either listen/practice whatever I am learning, and if that means spending Lunch or a Study Hall in a practice room practicing, then I have to do that.

Did you ever want to quit violin? What made you keep going?

I don't recall ever wanting to quit violin, but there have definitely been days where I really don't feel like practicing. I would say that there are a few factors that keep me going: my love of music and violin, the friends that I have made due to violin, and the fact that even if you really dislike whatever piece you are playing, learning it will make you better, and you'll be done with it sooner if you practice more.

What are you going to do after high school? Is it music-related?

I would love to continue playing violin! I will definitely continue to take lessons throughout college and participate in their orchestra/music groups, and possibly do a double major in music and something else (I haven't really decided on the something else).