When Josephine Cowart was 3 years old, her mother put a violin in her hands.
Now 16, Josephine is preparing to play at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of the High School Honors Performance Series.
“Before my parents had me, they heard my great-uncle play in Philadelphia,” she said. “He was, like, 80-something years old, and he just pulled out his violin and started playing, and (my mother) was like ‘When I have kids, they’re going to play violin.’ So me and my sister both play.”
The Longview High School junior was selected with fellow violinist Matthew Guck, 15, for the program after an audition process.
Matthew, a sophomore, said that for the audition, they had to submit a biography of their music experience, including pieces played, groups played with, awards, honors and an audio recording of two pieces.
The High School Honors Performance Series brings musicians from around the world together for the program, according to its website.
The two Longview violinists will travel to New York on Jan. 30, where they expect to join performers from 47 states, Guam, Canada, Bermuda, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Qatar and South Korea and learn from world-renowned conductors before the group plays together in a concert Feb. 2 at Carnegie Hall.
In addition, the students will tour sites in New York City and see a Broadway production. They will return home Feb.3.
Matthew and Josephine are both part of the East Texas Youth Orchestra in Tyler. Matthew said the music for the performance at Carnegie Hall will be more advanced than they typically play in school.
“For a lot of musicians our age, it would be advanced music,” he said. “But for us, specifically, it’ll be a nice challenge.”
Matthew started playing about five years ago, he said. His older sister joined orchestra while she was in high school. Matthew started playing her violin.
“I was actually really, really bad and was going to quit,” he said. “But I ended up sticking with it.”
Now, Matthew is considering continuing to study music after high school. He might minor in music education, but he said he definitely wants to keep playing.
Josephine is starting to look into schools with music programs, she said.
But, for now, the two are focusing on the performance at Carnegie Hall.
“I’m excited,” Matthew said. “I’m just glad I made it.”