Rivers Symphony Orchestra with Guests Adalia Wen and Zoe Weng This Sunday March 20

Adalia Wen Rivers’25 Photo courtesy of Rivers Conservatory

As many Weston residents and visitors know, we are a musical town. Not only do we have one of the most complete and successful public school music programs in Massachusetts (arguably we are number 1 but I know some other towns get cranky about that), but our town is home to the fantastic Conservatory Program at Rivers private school. (RSC). Please note that the Owl’s niece attends Rivers and my bias towards the red-winged blackbirds (awesome mascot) is going to be noticeable. Birds rule. Also ‘cats.

While reading a press release about an upcoming  Rivers Symphony Orchestra concert on Sunday, March 20 at 3:00 p.m, I note that the event would feature two student winners of the RSC’s Concerto Competition–and that I know one of them. Ninth grade Rivers School student Adalia Wen will join the orchestra as a soloist for Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22, by Camille Saint-Saens, and sixth grade Rivers school student Zoe Weng will perform as a soloist for Piano Concerto in A Major, no. 23, K488 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I further note that this is the first time that Conservatory Program students at The Rivers School won both divisions. You can read more about the competition here.

Zoe Weng, Rivers’28, winner in the under-12 category. courtesy photo

The Owl reached out a feathered wing to Adalia’s mom, Rachel. Adalia was a close friend of one of the Owlets before swanning off (I can do bird jokes all day) to private school after fifth grade. Life is busy and I haven’t caught up with the family since we ghosted them in say, 2019? As an aside, Ring doorbell cameras really do cut down on ghosting fun. Sigh. In any case, here’s Adalia Wen in her own words:


When did you start learning to play piano?
I learned how to play when I was four years old through an introductory Yamaha course. When I moved to Seattle, I started studying the piano more seriously and began to participate in competitions.

Do you play other instruments as well?
Yes, I do play other instruments. My second instrument is the guzheng, which is a traditional Chinese instrument, classified as a plucked zither. It’s pretty integral to traditional Chinese music and culture. I’ve been playing it for almost four years, and I’m planning to enter the Fidelity Investments Young Artists Competition with it this year.

When did you enter the Conservatory program at Rivers?
I joined the Rivers School Conservatory last year in January and also auditioned for the conservatory program of the Rivers School (which are two different things!). Being in both programs lets me have many performance opportunities, including several masterclasses, the weekly recitals, the annual Seminar on Contemporary Music, this particular concerto competition, my piano duo at school, and the new ChamberMusicLab program.

What are the biggest challenges to piano-playing at a high level?
The biggest challenge for me is balancing the piano with other parts of my life. Out of all extracurriculars, I put the most energy into practicing, performing, and competing, but between other activities and also being a full-time high school student, I can’t always accomplish everything that I want to do.

What’s your favorite piece of music or composer to play?
I have a lot of favorites, but Ravel’s Sonatine is iconic and I probably love it the most out of all my recent pieces.

What do you miss most about Weston Public Schools?
I miss hanging out with my friends from WPS, but definitely not the cafeteria food though.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like reading, writing, drawing, biking, and doing (translating/learning) Latin.


Once a ‘cat, always a ‘cat, I like to say. Come out to listen to some beautiful music this coming Sunday at 3 pm at Regis. Concert tickets are $20.00 for adults and $10 for students. They can be purchased at http://riversschoolconservatory/ensembles/riverssymphonyorchestra/

About Rivers Symphony Orchestra: The Rivers School Conservatory is one of the region’s leading community music schools. The Rivers Symphony Orchestra was established at RSC in 1996 to promote performance opportunities for talented adult and advanced students in the community. The RSO is conducted by Christopher Memoli, who is also director of music at Weston Public Schools and director of RSC’s Rivers Youth Orchestra Program.

One comment

  • Remarkable story, Kristin. I am simply awed by the habitat variations that you are comfortable in!.

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