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Artist of the Issue: Max Klein

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Leaving the audience in awe, Max Klein ‘18 graces concerts with his musical talents. From being a music prefect to composing pieces for theater productions such as Equus and Twelfth Night, he’s grown into a formidable presence in the Groton art scene.

 

Max says piano was the first instrument that he learned how to play – he took lessons until the age of ten. However, he hardly ever practiced because the instrument was then uninteresting to him. Without much passion for it, he quit. When he entered the fifth grade at his new school in New York, though, students were required to play an instrument in band or join the choir. Max says he decided to play the clarinet “only because my parents told me that if I played the clarinet, it would be easier for me to pick up the saxophone later on.” (Although he hasn’t yet learned to play the saxophone, he continues to play the clarinet in Groton’s orchestra.)

 

Apart from the clarinet, Max also plays the piano, flute, and tabla. He says that the idea to play the flute quite literally came to him in a dream – when he woke up, he walked to a nearby music store to buy a flute. Soon after, he started taking lessons and has now become proficient. As for the tabla, a South Asian percussion instrument, Max says that his brother Adam got him started with the instrument. Adam had given him an Indian record for Christmas, and he enjoyed it so much that the summer before his fifth form year, he began to take lessons.

 

While Max is accomplished at musical performance, his true ambition lies in composition. Last spring, Max worked on an Faculty-Sponsored Activity (FSA) in which he created minimalist music. Laurie Sales, a member of the board that approves FSAs, was seeking original music for Groton’s performance of Equus, and so approached Max. After he watched the movie version of the play, he decided that devising a score for the show would be an exciting project. Professional musicians recorded the finished score in the studio, and that recording accompanied the show. “It feels amazing to have something played professionally and [to have] the music fit perfectly within the context of the show,” he says. Laurie then asked Max to compose for a performance of Twelfth Night, for which he composed four jazz pieces on the piano.

 

When asked about his taste in music, Max chuckles and says, “It’s always changing.” In his second form year, Max started to get into classical music. In third form, the only artists he was listening to were Beethoven and Mozart. “I was always that kid with the earphones on. I’m sure people found it quite annoying,” he says. Now, Max says that his favourite music genres include classical, jazz, rock, and world music.

 

With so many accomplishments in music already, what lies in the future for Max? “I’m not completely sure,” he replies. “The music industry looks quite bleak and hard to break into, especially with the type of music that I want to do now. Ideally, I would want to pursue a career in both music and academia.” Although he has already contributed so much to Groton’s music scene, we’re all excited to see what else he has in store for us.

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