Eight days a week…is what freshman violinist Ethan Gritz '15 probably needs to get everything done in his typical work week.
Perhaps you have spotted Ethan walking around campus with what looks like a squared off, swoosh-less tennis racquet bag on his back. What Ethan actually carries in that anonymous black case is a violin, one that he plays so well that recently he made the NJ State Youth Orchestra.
Gritz has been playing violin since he was five years old. His first violin was 1/16 size and since then he has grown tall enough to require a full size instrument. Gritz is the middle of three brothers, and both of his parents play instruments: his father Elliott plays guitar his mother Raissa plays the piano. (This explains why some people's children who will remain unnamed are musically-challenged) Both of Ethan's parents must also exhibit admirable work habits since their son certainly does. Here is his typical schedule:
On Sunday he travels to Pelham, NY for a one hour lesson with violinist Rene Jolles. Mondays through Fridays he takes classes at Delbarton, rehearses with the Abbey Orchestra, Schola Cantorum and the Benedictones, plus practices with Br. Michael De Saye (pianist), Johnny Tamburro ’14 (saxophone) for a special performance by the trio at the spring concert.
Oh, and let’s not forget track practice every afternoon. Why, yes, Ethan runs. Somehow he also manages to squeeze in his homework thanks to superb time management skills. He likes his English and History classes -- he very much enjoyed the Odyssey and Great Expectations this year -- and he is a solid student across the board.
Was it difficult for him to transition from Chatham Middle School to Delbarton this year? “I had to figure out how to get everything done and also get the right amount of sleep,” he comments soberly.
Back to his schedule...On Saturday Gritz has a full day of classes, practices and performances at The Mannes School in Manhattan. His first class begins at 10:00 am, and the last class ends at 5:15 pm.
Add to that the one and a half to two hours that he practices on his violin each day.
Surely Abbey Orchestra rehearsals count as practice? “Oh no”, says Gritz. “That’s playing, not practice time.”
Each day in his room he practices for his next lesson and for his Saturdays at Mannes where he studies music theory and performs both orchestral and chamber music. This summer he will attend Greenwood Music Camp in the Berkshire Mountains which trains classical musicians. More practice, more playing.
Ethan is thinking about setting his sights on Juilliard's pre-college program and entertains the possibility that he could land at Juilliard for college. He will also consider other options. He ought to. Last fall a Princeton professor, who was guest speaking at Delbarton, recommended in front of the entire student body that Ethan tell the University’s admissions department that the professor strongly recommended the University admit Ethan. The professor based his opinion on one impressively intelligent comment Ethan made during the Q&A with Delbarton students.
Currently Ethan Gritz’s career goal is to perform as a violinist with a world renowned orchestra like the New York Philharmonic. So next time you see Ethan and his black bag, you will know what is in that mysterious case.
Update: Gritz recently traveled to Washington, DC with Delbarton’s Model UN Club. He did not bring his violin. The instrument needed a rest, but Ethan was just fine, thank you.