RFH’s Hayden Marciszewski: Composing Winning Music

Call it composing for COVID-19 composure.

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s (RFH) Hayden Marciszewski has been named the grand prize winner of the New Jersey Music Education Association’s 2020-2021 Young Composers Competition.   

Marciszewski, an RFH senior, is an accomplished pianist, guitarist, bassist and integral member of both the RFH Music Program and Tri-M Music Honor Society. He submitted his original, instrumental composition, An Angry Young Man in December and was named the winner at the contest finals on Jan. 30.  

His video performance debuted at the virtual NJ Music Educators Conference that began today, Feb. 18, and runs through Saturday.

In composing his piece, An Angry Young Man, a solo cello piece that he wrote last summer, Hayden cited his junior year frustration and anger over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hayden Marciszewski … Photo/RFH

“It was a difficult year for me academically and socially. I was feeling a lot of pressure from people for everything I was doing inside and outside of school. This piece is like a culmination of my feelings and exasperation for the whole year, including the transition to virtual learning, compliments of COVID.”  

RFH senior Hayden Marciszewski

This wasn’t Marciszewski’s first submission to the NJMEA Composition Competition. He has been submitting pieces since eighth grade and was selected as a finalist three times prior to being selected as the contest’s top winner this year.  

“When I heard the news, I was overtaken with joy and just so thankful for the support I’ve received from teachers and family during my musical journey,” Marciszewski said. “But, honestly, none of this would’ve been possible without my parents’ guidance and support.”

“The mission of the New Jersey Music Educators Association is the advancement of music instruction in New Jersey’s educational institutions at all levels that provide in-service and enrichment opportunities for practicing and retired teachers and prospective music educators, as well as sponsoring various festivals and all-state performing groups for K-12 students.”  

NJ Music Educators Association (NJMEA) website

Now in its 12th year, the Young Composers Competition encourages the most talented and promising high school musicians from all over the state to submit original compositions in both instrumental and vocal divisions and judges submissions on both the composition itself as well as student interview regarding their creative process. 

Marciszewski’s winning submission, as well as those of the other finalists, can be heard on the NJMEA’s website.

About Hayden Marciszewski …

Hayden Marciszewski … Photo/RFH

Marciszewski’s formal musical journey began when started playing piano at age five. He has been classically trained ever since and, for the past eight years, has studied under Russian pianist, Marina Strakovsky.

Under her tutelage, Marciszewski has performed six times at Carnegie Hall.  

He recently began studying composition professionally with Nick DiBerardino after writing his first original solo piano piece a few years back and realizing that he wanted to pursue composition.  

Outside of these influences, Marciszewski credits his participation in the RFH music program as an important part of his recent growth.

“RFH has really helped me make connections with other artists and grow as a musician and performer,” said Marciszewski. “Learning how to work with others is imperative as a composer/musician, and I owe a lot to Mr. Zach Lorelli for providing ample opportunities to promote myself. Many of the classes were very enjoyable, including Songwriting, because it pushed me to write and create new songs completely out of my comfort zone.”

Marciszewski has also made a name for himself as an academic standout at RFH. When he isn’t playing with the Concert and Jazz bands, String Ensemble or singing with the Tower Singers, he devotes his time and talents to activities as a member of the National and National French Honor societies. 

Seth Herman, supervisor of World Language, Fine and Performing Arts and Physical Education and Health, touted Marciszewski’s contributions to the RFH community, saying, “I am thrilled that Hayden has been recognized for his musical contributions in this way. Not only is Hayden a talented musician, but he is also generous, hard-working, and just a great person.” 

Despite the challenges to the typical high school and musical performance experiences that COVID has brought, Marciszewski has been lauded for finding ways to continue to share his musical talents.

He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Music, majoring in Composition and minoring in Creative Writing/Poetry/Songwriting.  

— Edited press release from RFH

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management