Ilyas Syed is one of the standouts when it comes to showing off the talent of the East Lyme community. This year he has won a national gold medal and will be playing at Carnegie Hall later in November.
Syed has been refining his ability to play the cello since the 3rd grade. From then on, he has reached great heights in the musical world.
Syed plays in the ELHS chamber orchestra ensemble for Karin Carlson. She acknowledges the great player Syed is and often takes suggestions from him for what the orchestra should play.
“Ilyas is a brilliant player and a positive, wonderful kid to have in class,” said Ms. Carlson
Syed auditioned at the Royal Conservatory of Music in December of 2018. This is a prestigious and respected music education institution. This October he received a national gold medal for placing first in the exam.
This achievement represents gaining the highest mark in the country out of all high school players who auditioned playing the cello.
“There is an immense amount of time and effort needed to acquire this achievement,” said Syed. “Usually, your achievement reflects your amount of practice and work. I would say this national gold medal definitely reflects the hundreds of hours I put into it.”
Syed later went on to describe how he practices hours a day. It was a test of will for him and he often didn’t want to practice, but always got through it.
“I was his accompanist at the examination and I witnessed a very well prepared and inspired performance both technically and musically. However, I did not expect for him to be placed first in the country for his level. This came a complete surprise! I can definitely say it makes me a very proud mother” said Natalia Syed, Ilyas’s mother. Ilyas has a very supportive and musically talented family which he credits a lot of his success.
But playing the cello isn’t all he does. Syed is a key runner on the cross country team and enjoys track and field, too.
“My life isn’t solely based on cello. Someone like me doesn’t have to focus on just one specific subject. I feel all things can be connected in a way, one subject can help you in another.”
He will go on to perform at the reputable Carnegie Hall and receive his award in person. This will be his third time playing at the national landmark.
Syed hopes to come to even greater lengths in the music world and sees this as only the beginning of his journey. Hoping to continue cello into college, he remains determined and dedicated with big years coming before him.