Caleb Connor Borick, a homeschooled twelve year old from Charleston, SC, developed a love for classical music at an early age. He began piano lessons at the age of five. Caleb currently studies with internationally acclaimed pianist Svetlana Smolina. He is a former student of Enrique Graf and Eunjoo Yun at the Charleston Academy of Music (CAM).
For the past three years, Caleb has been featured at Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival, annual CAM honors recitals, and special events including TEDxCharleston. In 2013 he opened the Piccolo Spoleto Rising Stars Series (a concert series for promising young artists) with an encore performance, won the South Carolina Music Teachers Association Division II Concerto Competition for the state of South Carolina, and gave his first solo concert in the Young Artist Series of Fountain Inn, SC. He returned to Fountain Inn in October 2014 to join the Fountain Inn Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16. The Greenville News professed “Caleb brought a crisp articulation to the Grieg concerto, delivering the third movement folk dance with clarity and flair. He demonstrated a musicality well beyond his years, meanwhile, in the sensitively phrased lyrical passages of the second and third movements. His assured reading of the concerto’s dazzling cadenza was marvelous.” He will be performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Charleson Symphony Youth Orchestra in Charleston in March 2015 and in New Jersey with the Ocean City Pops in the summer of 2015.
He has performed throughout the Charleston area in events such as the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League’s Designer Showhouse, the South Carolina Regional Arts Alliance Annual Spoleto Meeting, the Garden Club of Charleston’s annual luncheon, the Special Olympics Gala, and as far away as Skytop Lodge in Pennsylvania. He has participated in multiple masterclasses and private lessons with Ilana Vered, and masterclasses with Andrew Armstrong, Sasha Starcevich, Luz Manriquez, Paolo Gualdi, and Raquel Boldorini.
Since 2013, Caleb has been a Charleston Symphony Orchestra Summer Studies scholarship recipient. In 2014 he won the Amidon-Hatfield piano award from the Charleston Music Club and recently he won their Claire McPhail award. In summer 2014, Caleb attended the Philadelphia International Music Festival where he won the grand prize in the Festival’s concerto competition. In February 2015, Caleb, one of fifty-two participants worldwide, traveled to NYC, one of nine international locations, to compete in the Disklavier Round of the e-Piano Junior Competition. Caleb regularly plays concerts at local nursing homes and hospices. When he is not playing the piano, Caleb enjoys reading, science, operas, hiking, fishing, and karate.
We initiated a conversation with Caleb about his beginnings in music, as well as his inspirations and aspirations. Please visit us again to see many more of our featured alumni, and stay updated on their outstanding success!
What piece of music would you be willing to play over and over again?
The Grieg Piano Concerto.
Do you play any other instruments?
I used to play the violin, but there were not enough hours in the day for violin and piano.
What is your favorite piece of music to perform?
The Grieg Piano Concerto because I like to perform w/ orchestra.
What are your hobbies outside of music?
Karate (I am a yellow belt working towards blue) fishing, hiking
Who are your major influences/inspirations?
Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Rubenstein, and my teacher, Svetlana Smolina
What is your earliest musical memory?
The Magic Mozart Cube and Baby Einstein CDs and DVD’s.
What was the first piece of music that you fell in love with?
Beethoven Symphony # 5
What was your most memorable musical moment?
My recent trip to New York City to compete in e-Piano Junior Competition Disklavier Round. I was 1 of 52 international competitors chosen.
How has the Philadelphia International Music Festival shaped your life as a musician?
The festival was a life changing experience for me. I saw the value of hard work when I was surrounded by musicians who loved what they do, and when I won the Concerto Competition. I was on the news and in the newspaper when I returned home from the festival. I have been very motivated to practice and learn new things every day after attending the festival. Many opportunities have opened up for me including being able to perform my Grieg with orchestra! I also plan to tour with the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra this summer, an opportunity that arose from my Concerto win at the Festival. Probably the best result of all was that I now study over Skype with Svetlana Smolina, whom I met at the festival!
How did you first get started playing piano, and how old were you?
I had a piano in my house and asked my parents if I could take lessons when I was 5.
Do you have any advice that you could give to other young aspiring musicians?
Keep practicing, it will pay off!
Who is your favorite musical icon, living or dead?
Who else in your family is musical?
My great-uncle, Tison, was a violinist with the Boston Pops and the Boston Ballet.
What is your general practice routine? How many hours do you typically practice in a day?
I make up my practice routine as I go along and it typically ends up being around 3 hours.
Why would you recommend students from the U.S. and abroad to attend the Philadelphia International Music Festival?
I would highly recommend attending PIMF because it provides a fantastic opportunity to be surrounded by fellow musicians. The teachers are excellent and the classes are motivating. Anyone attending will feel inspired. I will be coming back to PIMF myself this summer.
Do you still get nervous before a performance, and if so – how do you cope?
I don’t get nervous and I never have. I get nervous if I don’t have a performance.