Yurok Song ’22 has been involved in music ever since the young age of three, when he began playing the piano. Since then, he made the switch from piano to the cello and has contributed to Deerfield’s music program with his leadership, musical passion, and skill in chamber music and orchestra. Song started in music early on, playing the piano up until he was nine years old. However, he never found much passion for the instrument, so he was thankful to discover the cello one day while at a music shop with his mother and sister. After being shown an assortment of string instru- ments, his sister picked the violin, so naturally, because “bigger is better,” Song chose the cello.
“If I could go back now, I wouldn’t pick a different instrument,” Song said, reinforcing his love for the instrument.
Advanced Chamber Music Coach Mei Wei reflected on her time spent teaching Yurok since his freshman year, saying, “He has matured a lot. He plays a lot of different types of repertoire and has more depth in his playing.”
Although fellow cellist Chloe Xue ’25 has not known Yurok for very long, his mentorship during orchestra has left a strong impression.
“At the start of the year, he was intimidating, mainly because he was so good at cello. Winter term though, I’ve gotten to know him a lot better,” Xue said. “He’s always willing to help, and not just with cello; he’s always there to just sit down and talk.”
Song also shared his experience with being a part of orchestra and the music community at Deerfield since freshman year. He said, “To be truthful, there aren’t a lot of music people at Deerfield. The ratio is pretty small, but within the small bubble itself, it is very intimate and everyone is very supportive of each other. Some of my best memories are from the music program here, which I will always be thankful for.”
Olivia Boe ’25 echoed Xue’s remarks. She said, “Yurok is a very good mentor. He helps me practice and gives me tips.” She explained that since he is the principal cellist, the leader of the cello section, and she is assistant principal, or the next best player, he has helped her prepare for next year and taught her how to lead the section.
Orchestra concertmaster Gale Gai ’22 said, “Yurok and I had our very first chamber music group together freshman year, and he has stuck with the program and me for a while now. He is someone who loves music and plays it not only because of his talent for it, but rather because of his love for it.”
Outside of the music community, Song also serves as a proctor for sophomore boys in the Louis Marx dorm. Proctee Alex Fontecchio ’24 explained that Song manages to balance his work life with other things well.
“Yurok recognizes when you’re having a tough day and will always be there to talk. He’s also very mature, so you can come to him with anything, and he’ll give good advice,” Fontecchio said.
Another member of Song’s hall, Robbie Hua ’24, said, “He’s been an inspiration to me as a music person because he’s really good at what he does, and he also wants me to do well with my music.”
Just this past Long Winter Weekend, Song traveled with members of Deerfield’s Advanced Chamber Music class to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall. He explained how it felt like a full-circle moment because during his freshman year, Deerfield’s Orchestra went to New York to perform at the Oculus. Song shared, “It was probably my most fun trip at Deerfield ever. Going back to New York with cello and Deerfield as a senior now felt kind of weird but kind of nice too.”
Song also explained that during winter term, he has had a lot more time to enjoy playing cello. Recently, he has been learning new chamber music and plans to perform a classical duet with Gai in the spring.
“I’ve been trying to branch out a lot more and do some nonclassical things too, like playing the electric cello with [William Yang ‘22] at KFC,” Song said.
Ms. Wei expressed her hopes for Song’s future in music, saying, “I hope he keeps on inspiring others, especially the younger musicians, and I hope he keeps on improving and growing as a musician.”
Looking to the future, Song hopes to minor in music in col-lege, and he plans to continue playing the cello. In regards to Song’s upcoming graduation, Xue said “I don’t think the Deerfield music program will be the same without him. He’s helped me so much musically, and I think it’s really important to have an older cellist as a mentor.”
Song has been a strong and consistent leader and musician during his time at Deerfield, and both his proctees and fellow musicians expressed that they will miss him greatly next year.