Five Questions With: Maddox Realejo

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School named pianist Maddox Realejo, of Glocester, winner of the annual Rhode Island Philharmonic Concerto & Aria Competition for the 2017-18 season. He performed the third movement of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra, with Alexey Shabalin conducting, on May 5 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

In February, David Gasper, director and artistic administrator for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, and Francisco Noya, resident conductor, adjudicated the competition held at the Carter Center for Music Education. Realejo was one of four finalists chosen from a field of current students at the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School.

PBN: What first drew to you to music and the piano in particular?

REALEJO: I have an older sister who took piano lessons. My mother would regularly bring me along and one day my sister’s piano teacher mentioned to my mom that I should take a trial lesson. I wasn’t interested at first but finally agreed to take one and never looked back.

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PBN: Do you play any other instruments?

REALEJO: Yes, I am also a percussionist in the wind ensemble in my high school band. I am a junior at Ponaganset High School.

PBN: Do you plan to pursue music in college?

REALEJO: I plan to pursue music in college. I’m currently looking at schools.

PBN: What does it mean to you to be named winner of the Rhode Island Philharmonic 2017-18 Concerto & Aria Competition by the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School?

REALEJO: This competition is open to the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School’s student musicians who play either piano, orchestral or band instruments, or sing. I knew the level of competition I was up against – the applicants are very good musicians. They have been enrolled in private lessons or a youth ensemble at the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School, where they have been working intensely on honing their skills. So, it was an honor to win and an amazing experience.

PBN: How do you hope this recognition will advance your music career?

REALEJO: Winning this competition gave me a lot of additional exposure [for college] during my junior year, which is perfect timing and a great addition to what I have accomplished so far.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email,