NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Semmy Stahlhammer, an internationally acclaimed violinist from Sweden, told New Rochelle High School students his influences in learning his instrument of choice were wide-ranging.
They include other violinists, sure. But also ballet dancers, singers, and even Jimi Hendrix. If the Swedish string master's performances don't evoke the hard-driving songs of the rock guitarist, that's no matter. Stahlhammer advised students to draw inspiration wherever they can.
"You don't necessarily have to get the inspiration from other violinists; you can get it from any direction," he told the choral, band and orchestra performers in the Linda E. Kelly Theatre on Tuesday.
Stahlhammer visited New Rochelle during his performance tour through the New York City area thanks to middle school orchestra director David Tobey. The two are friends from their days at The Julliard School. Stahlhammer wowed the students with classical pieces, Swedish folk songs, and American jazz standards. One of his aural treats was an etude he adapted from the Whitney Houston hit, "Saving All My Love."
"He makes it look so easy!" raved sophomore Priscilla Flores, who has been practicing violin about seven years.
"Those high notes were very beautiful," added freshman Samantha Osorio, who has been practicing 10 years.
Stahlhammer gave encouragement and advice (practice every day) to freshman Mica Lorse, who is practicing the Ed Sheeran song, "Thinking Out Loud," to play at her cousin's wedding in a year.
"He was amazing," Lorse said. "I really want to be like him."