Collective Listening Project

Trenton Youth Orchestra Selects

Playlist No. 17

About the Playlist

June 25, 2020
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This week we are happy to showcase our new education program—the Neighborhood Project. We asked members of the Trenton Youth Orchestra (“TYO”), a string orchestra for high school students from the Greater Trenton area conducted by Lou Chen, to select two pieces of music: one classical and one non-classical. Their inspirations truly run the gamut from Fauré, Tchaikovsky, and Barber to Ariana Grande, Lizzo, and so much more!

In addition, this Spring PUC sponsored the “Express the Music” contest, a contest designed to capture the impact of music as perceived by Trenton Central High School students. Students were invited to channel their experience of hearing and interacting with world-class musicians on Princeton University Concerts’ series into their own creative expression. As you listen to some of our youngest classical music audience’s playlist, enjoy the booklet of winning entries from the contest.

1. Selected by Nayely Rivas, violin, 12th grade

ANTONIO BAZZINI: La ronde des lutins, Op. 25

“I remember back when I first started off with TYO, one of the coaches played it with her sister and the chemistry they had was so beautiful. That’s what I wanted to be like when playing with my friends. Also the piece itself is just amazing and fast and made me want to stomp my feet.”


“This song is powerful enough to the point where I can feel it coursing through my veins and it just makes me want to contort my body in a weird way. It’s also a jazz piece which is one of my favorite genres of music because of how random it can be and this is exactly what this piece is: just completely random and odd and surprising when it hits you.”


2. Selected by Aariana Flippin, violin, 12th grade

CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Clair de lune

“This piece resembles my mind if it were a musical composition. It makes me feel like I’m lying down in the woods while rain comes pouring down. It’s a protective song. Swells that are present throughout the song gives you a feeling of placement (and this can be interpreted however).”

MOM JEANS: Death Cup (Content advisory: Explicit language)

“This is a song I’ve been attracted to lately in my hectic teen life and it’s a great resemblance of my style and who I am as a person. My favorite part of the song is the ending part and it’s where they begin to scream. This part of the song showcases an emotional pain…it embodies how I feel towards situations in life. Sometimes you just have to scream.”


3. Selected by Brandon Missouri, cello, 11th grade

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF: Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14

“Vocalise is a beautiful, sad song–but it’s not depressing.”

PARRIS CHARIZ: Smooth Operator

“This song reminds me of my bike rides through Trenton after school. So it reminds me of Trenton since I’ve moved. Also I like the bop and smooth hype.”


4. Selected by Christopher Tax, cello, Trenton Central High School alumnus

JOE HISAISHI: Theme from Howl’s Moving Castle (arr. solo piano)

“It’s calm and yet exciting. It brings a whole new emotion of warmth that feels familiar but new because no matter how many times you hear it, it always makes you feel something.”


5. Selected by Grace Mitchell, violin, 12th grade

FELIX MENDELSSOHN: First movement from Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64

“I choose this because it is my long-standing favorite piece to listen to. It’s one of the first pieces I listened to that I wasn’t practicing to play. Even after all these years, I still find it soothing and exciting, my go-to while doing homework or walking home.”

ARIANA GRANDE: fake smile (Explicit language)

“I choose this song because the lyrics really speak to me as a person. One being ‘I won’t say I’m feeling fine, after what I been thru I can’t lie.’ I had to learn to give myself credit for even my little accomplishments, because I’ve been through a lot for a girl my age. I tend to have a brighter outlook on life once I focus on what makes me happy.”


6. Selected by Andy Dilone, violin, 12th grade

GABRIEL FAURE: Pavane, Op. 50

“Pavane was one of the first classical pieces I played and I enjoyed it a lot. It shines the spotlight on woodwinds such as the flute, clarinet, and my personal favorite, the oboe. This piece uses the strings almost as an accompanying sound. It also contains minor sounds which I really like. I’m not very good with musical jargon so I’ll leave it at that!”

LSD: It’s Time

“This is the last song of the album and really brings out the vocal powerhouse that both Sia and Labyrinth possess. It’s a really beautiful piece, especially towards the end. The song is about how love will not always work between people and realizing that it’s finally time to move on. You can hear the passion in their voices. It’s best experienced with headphones!”


7. Selected by Perla Diaz, violin, 9th grade

CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS: The Swan from Carnival of the Animals

“I chose this piece because I discovered it recently (like last month). And as soon as I heard it, I loved it. It has a very calm and slow rhythm and melody, which I like to listen to when I’m tired or need to relax.”

DAY6: Zombie (English version)

“This is a song that one of my favorite boy bands released on May 11. It’s a really nice song with very deep lyrics. But it also has a nice rhythm to it. I listen to this song a lot, I really enjoy it.”


8. Selcted by Ashanti Ross, violin, Trenton Central High School alumnus

SAMUEL BARBER: Adagio for Strings

“This is such a unique and powerful piece. It’s hard not to be engulfed by the emotions Barber is communicating.”

EZRA COLLECTIVE: Reason in Disguise

“This is one of my top songs simply because every time I hear the opening I just feel a wave of relaxation. The band and instrumental itself is so enjoyable alone but when paired with her voice it’s something special.”


9. Selected by Edgar Cambara, violin, 12th grade

ERIK SATIE: Gnossienne No. 1

“I love listening to this piece when it’s raining and it’s a slow day.”

EDBL: magpies
CORY WONG and TOM MISCH: Cosmic Sans

“I love listening to these two songs when I’m doing work or I have a long trip ahead or when I just want to doze off into another world.”


10. Selected by Melki Garcia-Perez, violin, Trenton Central High School alumnus

CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS: Danse macabre, Op. 40 (arr. for piano and violin)

“This is a fun piece to listen to that I wish I could play with someone during Halloween.”

TWENTY ONE PILOTS: Level of Concern

“This is my go-to song for when I’m driving! It puts me in a good mood.”


11. Selected by Collin Thompson, violin, 12th grade

PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY: First movement from Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35

“I chose this piece because I believe it’s a true romantic concerto. Every note coming from the violin is a part of a bigger story being told and I think it’s extremely beautiful.”


“This song really represents my personality accurately and every time I listen to it I feel at peace.”


12. Selected by Javier Martinez, violin, 11th grade


“It is one of my favorite pieces and I really like the dynamics and musicality it brings out.”

CHILDISH GAMBINO: Redbone (Explicit language)

“I can listen and vibe out to this song because of its diversity and slow, laid-back tempo. And it’s a really nice melody.”


13. Selected by David Jen, cello, 7th grade


“It tells a story.”

TORI KELLY: I’ll Find You

“It conveys a good message and is rap/sung.”

14. Selected by Joshua Jen, violin, 8th grade

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL: Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah

“This song is super powerful and just sounds really, really, good.”

LIZZO: Cuz I Love You (Explicit language)

“I really like this song because it is so much more than just a song. It really represents something crazy in our community.”

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