Liberty Musician Wins Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

Jacob Choi - Liberty HSCongratulations to Liberty High School senior Jacob Choi who has been awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. As part of the award, Choi was also invited to become a fellow with “From the Top’s” Learning and Media Lab Fellowship.

Choi is one of 20 young musicians chosen from around the world for the esteemed scholarship, which is given to driven and committed musicians who have the potential to study classical music at the highest levels.

As a fellow, Choi was invited to interview with National Public Radio’s “From the Top” where he played the first and second movements of the “Viola Sonata” by William Flackton with Eunsil Cho on piano. 

Listen to Choi's "From the Top" performance and interview.

Through the fellowship, Choi participated in a four-week curriculum that explores the concepts of community engagement through music. 

Choi’s path to music seems inevitable when you consider his mother majored in voice, his brother majored in performance and violin and his father was a professional conductor of a professional orchestra in South Korea.

“I grew up in a classical environment with music always being in my household,” Choi said.

As a child, Choi was more interested in video games and cartoons than playing music, but it wasn’t long until he wanted to prove to himself and his family that he too could play. He started with the violin but switched to viola in eighth grade which felt like a better fit for him.

“I am blessed to have had the opportunity through FISD fine arts to meet other individuals who are passionate and driven - they inspire me,” Choi said. “When I started high school, I just wanted to play viola and go to class, but I didn’t understand how it would all work together and draw me to become more well-rounded.

“From the alumni to my peers and incredible teachers, I’ve grown so much thanks to everyone.  At Liberty, I have been able to create a second family. I feel blessed to have such incredible directors and teachers in Frisco who not only teach their subjects but also guide us through central skills that we will carry with us throughout our lives.”

Choi explained that music is less about the notes, and more about the messages, emotions and personal journey that can be shared from measure to measure.

“Lots of people play instruments and the same exact notes, but each person who plays music has an opportunity to make it special and unique to them in a way that connects all of us,” Choi said. “Music is a universal language where cultural and language barriers don’t exist.”

Choi explained that he loves playing the viola and that receiving accolades for his work is cool, but what he is most proud of is that he has the opportunity to share his passion and connect to others through music.

Choi is looking ahead to graduation and wants to expand who he is as a person. Right now, he wants to eventually become a social venture capitalist, helping secure micro-loans for those who have trouble getting credit, but in the meantime, he has some music to play. Last week, Choi learned that was invited to join The Juilliard School of Music, one of the world’s leading performing arts schools. 

Best of luck to Choi on his journey!

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