Student Spotlight: Dexter Doris

By: Olivia Cahill, Staff Writer

It’s no surprise that Thornton-Donovan has an abundance of talented students. Whether its academically or artistically, T-D students impress all. One student, in particular, holds a special place in students’ minds. Dexter Doris, an 8th grader, is one of the most breathtaking violinists T-D has ever heard.  His exceptional talent was first recognized at the age of 5, where he was accepted into the Bard Conservatory Pre-College Program. Since then, the young virtuoso has been involved in multiple music competitions, guest starred on several radio stations and was titled the New York State Champion for the Music Teachers National Association  in 2017. Recently, the Overlook Journal had the chance to speak to Dexter about his passions and more recent accomplishments.


Q: How did you become interested in music?
“I became interested in music through famous musicians. Ever since I was two, I’ve always wanted to play, but I was too young at the time… My mother wanted to find a teacher for me, but she couldn’t find someone who was willing to teach me because they all wanted to teach older students, so I had to wait till I was 4. I started at my pre-kindergarten school and haven’t stopped since.”


Q: What inspires you to play the violin?
“What inspires me is this certain feeling I get while playing and the knowledge that I’m doing something that I want to do. The feeling I get when I play the violin is something I want to express to others.”


Q: What are your aspirations?
“I would love to go to Julliard or the Curtis Institute, both highly acclaimed schools, for now, I’m in Julliard pre-college. I want to become a musician when I’m older and I’ll be able to do a lot more than I’m doing now.  I don’t play the violin for fame, money, or people’s approval. I play because its something I love doing and it makes me feel good about myself.”


Q: What role models inspire you?
“I look up to Itzhak Perlman. He is a Jewish violinist who suffers from polio. He still plays a lot and is very good and people like him, who are handicapped and still persevere to do something they love, really inspire me.”


Q: What has been your proudest moment as a musician?
“I’ve had a lot, but I would say the best, overall, is any time I get to perform because it’s my only way of sharing something to the world that I can do and I know that even if it’s not the best its something that I want to do and I love doing it.”


Q: Can you talk a bit about the international music competition you participated in?
“So, this was in November I got notified by a small orchestra group in Norway and they had invited me along with a couple other people from different countries to be in the final round of their music competition. I happened to be the only one not only from the U.S. but from North America invited. I accepted and played there and the people were so welcoming and kind. It was my first international competition and it was a bit nerve-racking because I met so many people from different countries who were just as amazing. But I really just thought about why I was there and it was because I love what I do. They called the results and I got 4th out of 150 people which I am immensely proud of, although I hope next time I can do better.”


Dexter is an ambitious 8th grader and we can only expect great things to come.