Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra Alumni Profile
Max Opferkuch, clarinet
Class of 2016
MMYO Ensemble(s): Advanced Orchestra
Favorite MMYO memory:
I have so many great memories of MMYO — from certain pieces we played, to funny or inspiring moments with Mr. Constantino in rehearsal, to getting to perform as a soloist with the orchestra — but I think my favorite memory is of playing Dvorak’s 8th symphony in the San Diego Symphony Side-by-Side. Performing with a professional orchestra for the first time was a really awe-inspiring experience, and it gave me my first taste of what an orchestral career might be like. I also met my former private teacher Terri Tunnicliff during that performance, who was so influential to me during my high school studies.
What have you been up to since you graduated from MMYO?
Attending University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, studying Clarinet Performance.
Are you still involved with music?
Yes, as a music major! I perform with the Thornton Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, the Thornton EDGE new music ensemble, in chamber ensembles, and in occasional gigs around LA. This past summer I was also principal clarinetist in San Diego’s Opera NEO.
What did you learn during your time with MMYO? From the very beginning, MMYO taught me to be a leader. I had just two years of clarinet experience behind me when I joined the advanced orchestra as principal clarinetist, which really pushed me to take personal initiative and responsibility when it came to rehearsals, practicing, and such. I feel that being given such an important role from early on set me up to grow tremendously as a musician and as a person during my four years in MMYO.
Advice for current MMYO students: Always remember to have fun, and to find the joy in playing music. There are times when practicing music can be challenging or even frustrating — but the challenges are so worth it in the end because of the thrill of performing music with other people and for other people.
To view Max’s recent solo performance with the USC Concerto Chamber Orchestra, click HERE.