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9-year-old musician enjoys trip to Carnegie Hall

Emma Servadio, 9. 

(LIBBY MARCH / For the Monitor)

Emma Servadio, 9. (LIBBY MARCH / For the Monitor)

Emma Servadio can now cross one major item off the list of goals for most classical musicians twice her age.

Servadio, a 9-year-old student at Christa McAuliffe School in Concord, performed at Carnegie Hall last Sunday, in the recital of the Crescendo International Music Competition.

She walked calmly and confidently onto the stage at Carnegie Hall, smiled, and sat down at the piano to perform a piece of her own composition.

She struck a few wrong notes, but she carried on.

“I didn’t want to freak out and ruin the whole piece,” she said.

Emma, who also plays the violin, met other young musicians from all over the world, including a new friend from Russia, during the three hours the musicians had to wait backstage before performing.

“I was really excited,” she said. “I liked it more than I thought I would.”

The hall looked warmer and prettier in person than it did in pictures, she said, and had a big crystal light she really liked.

One of the best parts? Going out for a very late dinner in Manhattan after the 9 p.m. show, and not having to go to sleep until 2 a.m.

When she came out to the audience after performing, her mother, Ching-Yao Chen, tried to tell her what a great job she had done.

All Emma could say was, “I’m so hungry.”

“I didn’t mind,” said her mother. “I knew she would have a hard time falling asleep because of the excitement. And it wasn’t a school night.”

Peggy Senter, president of the Concord Community Music School, where Emma studies piano, was in New York on business and was able to attend the recital.

She confirms Chen’s assessment: Emma performed beautifully.

“I’ve always been so impressed with her composing. . . . It’s creative, it’s unusual sounds, it has great form,” Senter said. “So I was ready for all that, and I have to say that even in the context of this concert, she really stood out. She just played so convincingly and with so much conviction.”

For now, Emma is going to continue practicing, and will perform in several local concerts this spring.

Someday, she might decide to pursue composition as a career, but she likes performing too much to just take a role offstage, she said.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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