Seventeen-year-old violinist and pianist Jovey Osagie loves Franz Liszt. The Hungarian composer tops out at number one on his list of musical inspirations. Osagie aspires to not only perform, but also compose, in the same manner as a man who would be nearly 150 years his senior today.
“I love him so much because he’s so real,” says Osagie. “When you listen to his music it makes you think about life in a different way.”
Osagie is a junior at Lawton Chiles High School. He participates in his school’s orchestra as well as locally with the Bach Parley String Academy and the Tallahassee Youth Orchestras. With the TYO, Osagie will be performing for their concert with guest artist Howard Levy on Feb. 24.
Classical music is as tangible as a vivid tapestry for Osagie — its notes captivate his imagination. After trying out the bass and organ, Osagie picked up the violin in fifth grade and has pursued the instrument in tandem with the piano ever since. Though he’s only been playing for six years, Osagie knew immediately that music would be his path.
“Every year there’s something new to learn,” says Osagie, who enjoys the community that surrounds playing piano and violin in Tallahassee.
He’s grateful for mentors Dr. Valerie Arsenault of the Tallahassee Bach Parley and Chris Miller at the TYO and Chiles High School. Osagie says that they teach more than “tonality, phrasing and dynamics” by encouraging him to become a better overall musician. His biggest challenge is overcoming the feeling of playing catch-up to peers who have been playing the instruments longer.
Osagie constantly pushes himself to learn quickly with sights set on his dream colleges on the horizon. He practices for a few hours each day, but more than focusing on just the notes on the page, Osagie enjoys diving into the history behind the music he plays.
“If the information is out there I will find it,” laughs Osagie. “Learning more about these composers and people who wrote these pieces of music inspires me to want to do more.”
In addition to Liszt, Osagie admires the compositions of Maurice Ravel. He appreciates Ravel’s beautiful melodies and harmonies and finds similar joy in Liszt’s overtures as well.
When listening to Liszt’s “Years of Pilgrimage,” Osagie embarks on a journey all his own. He feels the uprising, tragedy and heroism implicit in each note. For Ravel, it’s more like swimming through a carefully composed emotion heightened with anticipation. Osagie likens the experience to wandering through a subliminal field.
“Liszt is known to be a grandfather to all kinds of classical music,” explains Osage. “His music has so much energy and story behind it. When played well, it can inspire people.”
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