Charlie Albright

Setting the tone on the piano and in the lab

Rebecca J. Margolies

Can you hear the music? We can.

Before reading period last semester, Charlie Albright ’11 was not only juggling a full course load, but also a full concert schedule. The classical pianist’s daily routine consisted of attending rehearsal, napping before his performances, and returning at night to finish a physics p-set, photograph it, and e-mail it to his TF.

“I guess that’s typical for when I’m away,” he says.

Albright’s musical prowess manifested itself at an early age. Family lore has it that he climbed onto the piano at age 3 and began playing. He played by ear until he was 7, when he began classical music studies with teacher Nancy B. Adsit.

The following year, a local news station featured Albright on a program. “They asked me what I thought the boy would do,” Adsit says of being interviewed. “‘Anything he wants,’ I answered.” To date, Albright has won national and international competitions, including the 2010 Gilmore Young Artist Award and the Young Concert Artist International Piano Auditions first prize in 2009. He has also given three concerts with Yo-Yo Ma ’76.

Currently a pre-med economics concentrator, Albright is also enrolled in Harvard’s dual degree program with the New England Conservatory. “Music was huge in my life, but academics were huge too,” he says of his decision to attend Harvard rather than a conservatory alone.

Albright introduced his talent to the Harvard community early, wowing the audience at the Freshman Talent Show. His winning performance consisted of a medley, starting with Chopin’s Fourth Ballade, moving into “Great Balls of Fire,” and concluding with the end of the Chopin Ballade.

Though Albright performs concerts on a regular basis, his fame hasn’t gone to his head. “I think the thing that sets Charlie apart is that he’s super humble and down to earth,” says Daniel J. Oh ’11, one of Albright’s blockmates.

As for the future, Albright recognizes the difficulties in pursuing music as a career. “I’d also love to be a doctor,” he says, “but I’d love to be a concert pianist more.”