East Lyme valedictorian owes success to parents, teachers, fellow students

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
East Lyme - posted Mon., Jun. 20, 2011
Contributed
East Lyme High School valedictorian Max Tan is an accomplished violinist. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

When Max Tan, valedictorian of the East Lyme High School Class of 2011, was learning how to play the violin, one of his teachers said that he should treat every practice session as if he were performing.

“Since then, I’ve applied this philosophy to not only musical studies, but also my academic studies,” said Tan, who in his time as a Viking has given a performance that is worthy of a standing ovation. In the fall, he will be continuing his work at Harvard University, pursuing his interest in mathematics and science. Right now his interest, he said, is in human developmental and regenerative biology.

“And, of course, I intend to keep up my musical studies,” he added.

Tan’s passion for music began at the age of 4, when he began playing the piano. At the age of 8, he received a full scholarship to the Julliard School Precollege Division, switching to violin at the age of 9 and attending The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston for several years. However, for the last three years, Tan has been commuting to New York at least once a week to continue his violin studies at Julliard, where he is a student of Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho. Having graduated from the Julliard Precollege Division, Tan just completed a six-and-a-half-week program on Shelter Island, N.Y., with the Perlman Music Program, a program for exceptional young musicians.

The founder of the East Lyme High School String Quartet and the Chamber Orchestra, Tan works with the orchestra teacher conducting the school’s symphony orchestra as well. 

“It’s a great opportunity to work with many wonderful and passionate teachers at the school,” said Tan, who also lauds his classmates for their commitment to their passions and interests, as well as the mutual respect they show along with an openness and acceptance of new ideas.

“Some people don’t get the wonderful opportunities we have at our high school, and people have many different passions and interests, but everyone deserves the utmost respect,” said Tan, who attributes his success to his parents and sister, as well as his friends and teachers.

“I cannot imagine myself becoming who I am without any of these people that I have met and gotten to know in high school,” said Tan.


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