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Local Student Performer Selected to Perform at Carnegie Hall

Steffan Thurman, a sophomore at Paul W. Bryant High School (PWBHS), is one of approximately 500 high school students from across the globe who will perform at Carnegie Hall’s Honors Instrumental Performance in New York City on Feb. 4. With only one other student musician from the state of Alabama, Thurman, 15, is honored to represent his county and state on the Perelman Stage.

“I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was the day I found out,” said Thurman. “It was a really tumultuous day because I was just reloading my email over and over and over again and it still hadn’t come. After dinner, I looked and saw an email from them and saw that I had got in, I stood up and jumped around the room.”

Starting studying music at the age of 5, Thurman took piano lessons at The University of Alabama. He started playing the euphonium, which he described as a “smaller-looking tuba,” in his school’s band in 6th grade. Thurman currently performs in all three bands at PWBHS, which includes the symphonic, jazz, and marching band, and started playing the trombone just last year.

“He eats, sleeps and drinks the trombone,” said Selwyn Reed, the band director at PWBHS who nominated Thurman for the opportunity to perform at Carnegie and guided him through the intensive application process.

“Every now and then you run across a student that challenges you. He has passion for what he does,” said Reed. “We don’t find very many students that do what they enjoy doing. A lot of them are afraid to raise their hands and ask questions. Thurman has been one of those students that I really appreciate as an educator.”

Thurman will perform three pieces at the Honors Instrumental Performance on Feb. 4th, including: Candide Overture by Leonard Bernstein; Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring by Arthur Luck; and Symphony No. 5 (4th Movement) by Dmitri Shostakovich.  

“The conductors, in the emails that I’ve gotten from him, really stressed that when we get up there it’s not playtime,” says Thurman. “I’m more excited than nervous because I’m going to be playing with all kinds of musicians that are like-minded people,” Thurman said.

Read the Press release from the Honors Performance Series organization.