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Artist of the Issue: Nadia Jo
Helen Mak '20 Staff Writer
May 29, 2019

The daughter of a concert pianist, Nadia Jo ‘19 was fated to become a musician. But, unlike her mother, Jo’s interest was not in piano or violin but in the cello, which she discovered at the age of six. To Jo, the cello allows for a wide range of emotions that can be conveyed with just one instrument.

Once she started practicing seriously, which often meant over three hours a day, Jo began going to music camps and joining orchestras.

At Deerfield, she further developed her love for classical music by participating in the music program. Jo immediately became a member of the Deerfield orchestra and, in her sophomore year, AP Music Theory. As a freshman, she joined the Advanced Chamber Music class, where she found a great musical community to express her passion. She is currently the Principal Cellist of the Deerfield Orchestra.

Credit: Ella Mbanefo

“Sometimes practicing for hours every day can get lonely, so chamber helps you with company and collaboration. It helped me learn how to individually express myself while simultaneously play a role in a group,” Jo remarked.

Her passion for cello and music can be seen by both her peers and mentors on campus.

“Nadia is an extremely mature musician, both technically and expressively,” said Director of Chamber Music and Orchestra Thomas Bergeron.

Beyond performing, Nadia is a tireless advocate for Deerfield’s music program as well as a resilient student.

“Nadia is a shining example of how a passionate commitment to the arts can support high achievement in the classroom,” Mr. Bergeron commented. “She often approaches me and other music faculty with concerns and ideas for the future of our program. She can often be seen advising younger music students regarding time management, and practice techniques.”

After realizing how training in classical music can be unaffordable for many children, Jo expressed her great interest to participate in outreach and fundraising programs for communities.

Working with young students would give them more opportunities to learn classical music in the future.

Jo’s continual passion for music goes beyond the classical genre.

Last summer, Jo spent time working at the Hip Hop Archive and Research Institute, a center at Harvard University. The program was  dedicated to making knowledge and information about rap history available to the public.

In addition, she made a blog during her junior year to critique music and share her thoughts on rap songs and albums.

“You hear rap, and you hear all these fast words but you don’t know what they’re saying,” Jo said about her initial confusion surrounding the genre. “Just like classical music, rap is usually misinterpreted by most people or has a very negative stereotype about it, but it makes me and a lot of other teenagers feel confident. That kind of clever writing and expression of different emotions was really inspiring for me,” Jo described.

Much of the student body remember Jo’s 2018 Winter KFC performance of Kendrick Lamar’s song “DNA.”

“It was a very memorable experience and I think it was cool for her to get out of her comfort zone,” Britney Cheung ’19 said.

As a multi-dimensional musician, Jo has continued to expand her musical comfort zone. This  includes  participating in more student programs and competitions throughout the year.

One of her most recent achievements included winning the Deerfield Academy Concerto Competition.

As part of her culminating senior performance, Jo played onstage as both a soloist and part of a trio on May 19th.