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Local high school students to perform on NPR


Krishna and Stroud

Local high school students Ashwin Krishna and Alexander Stroud are scheduled to appear as part of a classical guitar quartet on NPR’s “From the Top” radio show next week.

The four teens, ranging in age from 13 to 18, will perform “Von der Jugend” from Gustav Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde,” arranged for guitar by Stephen Goss. The broadcast is slated to air locally 7 p.m. Monday on KDFC 104.9.

Stroud and Krishna attend Mountain View and Los Altos High schools, respectively, and study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Both took up instruments by kindergarten.

Stroud began to learn guitar and piano at age 5, focusing solely on guitar by 7, according to his father, James.

Krishna started guitar at age 4 through a “Daddy and Me” program and advanced to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in middle school.

A passion for music

According to Stroud, the most challenging part of studying at the conservatory is the “commute time up and back,” but “it’s definitely worth it because of the environment. It’s so musical and you just feel it when you walk into the building.”

Krishna, 17, echoed Stroud’s sentiments.

“SFCM is a very inspiring environment and the students there are extremely hardworking,” he said. “It’s like a musical community. ... Everyone at the Conservatory is deeply in love with and dedicated to music, and I love being around them.”

The 18-year-old Stroud said performing on “From the Top” is “something I’m going to take with me for a long time.”

Krishna performed at Carnegie Hall at 13, playing “Introduction to Sunburst” by Andrew York.

“It is still my most memorable moment,” Krishna said of his appearance on the legendary stage. “The highlight was probably hearing 600 people clapping for me when I was taking a bow.”

For Stroud, the most satisfying aspect of playing the guitar is “when I perform and I’m really able to get into the mood of the piece I’m playing and be able to share it with the people I’m playing for.”

In addition to music, Stroud is interested in physics and mobile programming. He is working on an American football simulator for Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

Krishna said the most challenging aspect of playing guitar is “figuring out how to interpret a piece of music the way the composer specifically intended.”

“What I like seeing is the effect my music has on other people,” he added. “I still remember the time when I was at the Suzuki Festival in Italy in second grade and I made a guard cry with my playing.”

Outside of music, Krishna is a member of Boy Scout Troop 33 and recently earned his Eagle Scout rank. He co-founded the Silicon For Society club, which serves underprivileged children, and enjoys engineering and robotics.

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