Superintendent’s Artist of the Week: Zoe Link


Superintendent’s Artist of the Week: Zoe Link

October 4, 2023

Zoe Link, a senior violist and violinist at WVHS, was selected to the 87th Annual NYSSMA Winter Conference ensembles based on her outstanding NYSSMA solo performance score. She achieved this prestigious statewide honor along with fellow WVHS performing arts students Conner Price, Kayla Ludovicy, and Ben Poka.

To give you a better sense of that accomplishment, consider this: NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) welcomes about 7,000 students to audition for five ensembles each year. Less than 600 students are selected.

“Let me see if I can give you all of Zoe’s accolades; she’s done so much,” said proud music teacher Elissa Maynard. “Zoe is the principal violist in, and president of, our Chamber Orchestra. So, she leads the section, gives the other players bowing and fingering guidance when I can’t. She’s a member of Fiddle Frenzy. She’s a member of Wire Choir – its secretary, in fact. She has participated in OCMEA All-County auditions and ensembles since the fourth grade and has competed in the annual NYSSMA competitions every year she’s been eligible.”

Ms. Maynard’s list went on to include Zoe’s seat with the Hudson Valley Youth Orchestra, her involvement with the well-known Philadelphia International Music Camp & Festival, her recent interest in music production and joining the high school’s Studio Music Club.

“I started playing violin when I was four or five years old,,” said Zoe. “Once everyone else started playing instruments in fourth grade, I felt like I wanted to try something different, and that’s when I started playing viola.”

“Oh, I remember that,” interjected Ms. Maynard. “So you wouldn’t be bored! We had a whole conversation at the time. You and your parents were worried you’d be bored because you’d been playing violin forever at that point.”

So, Zoe added viola to her musical quiver, at which point she was playing viola in her own grade and violin with the orchestra a grade above her. When carrying both cases to school every day finally got to be a little much for the, then, 10-year old, Zoe made another musical move.

“I remember it vividly,” she said. “I wanted to stop playing violin, but I had to make a trade-off with my mother to pick up another instrument in its place. So, now I play piano too.”

Zoe said she doesn’t really remember a time in her life when she wasn’t playing an instrument. That’s why she was “super-excited” to get the news about her 2023 NYSSMA All-State selection. It felt like such wonderful validation of her dedication after having prepared a particularly tricky piece called Morpheus, by Rebecca Clark, for her NYSSMA audition.

“It’s one of my favorite pieces, but it’s really hard, and I felt very strongly about being able to play it as best as I could,” said Zoe. “I put a lot of time and effort and work into it, so I was happy that it came to fruition the way it has.”

Besides the NYSSMA festival this winter, Zoe said she is really looking forward to one more year with her WVHS orchestra-mates before heading off to college. And, of course, she’ll be studying music!

“I’ve been visiting a bunch of music programs and I just got started on my audition portfolio,” Zoe said, who plans on going the performance route as a music major. “I also want to do music business, so maybe a dual major thing, or a major/minor. I’m just excited to learn music.”



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