Cellist Kailie Holliday is certainly making the most of her final year of high school. Not only is she playing in the Merit School of Music Philharmonic, but she also plays in a competitive string quartet, Schaumburg’s Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra, and the chamber ensemble Cellissimo, an all-cello group based in Western Springs that performs a wide range of classical and popular styles.
Kailie began the cello at age 7 with Alex Revoal and continues to study with him to this day. While she originally wanted to study the violin, she recalls that, “I saw a cello leaning against a wall, and I decided that I really wanted to play a bigger instrument.” She’s come a long way since then, and is now working on the third movement of Camille Saint-Säens’ cello concerto, the second cello suite by J. S. Bach, etudes by David Popper, and the third movement of the Claude Debussy cello sonata.
Most days, Kailie practices for two hours a day, with the first hour dedicated to etudes, scales, and warm-ups, and the second hour to repertoire and ensemble pieces. She finds that if she focuses intently during those two hours, she is able to accomplish everything she needs to, and still has plenty of time for homework.
Kailie has found an excellent method to prepare for performances. She wisely suggests doing some run-throughs in the weeks before the performance to identify spots that need extra work or feel uncertain. Then she works through all of these sections slowly until she is confident playing each of them.
This past January, Kailie performed in a masterclass that really helped shape her career path. She says, “that was the first performance that I felt like I could be a soloist in the future. I had been working on how to perform, and show the music while I play it, and this performance was the first where I was really able to do that.” In the future she hopes to continue with solo and small ensemble work, as she cannot see herself in a long-term orchestral position. She hopes to release at least one solo album during her career.
As Kailie works through her senior year, she is busy completing her pre-screening videos for music schools and conservatories. Her biggest tip for other CMPI students is, “to start having trial lessons early, so you make sure you know which schools you want to audition for. It made things so much easier for me in deciding which schools I want to go to.”
In addition to cello, Kailie really loves languages and linguistics. She hopes to learn more about African Americans and the entire African diaspora, focusing specifically on culture and linguistics.
We wish Kailie all the best throughout her application process and look forward to seeing her accomplishments in the years to come.