A Wantagh teen is ready to display his music skills on an international stage this summer.
Jarrett Grempel, a senior at Professional Children's School in Manhattan, has been selected for the first National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, which consists of 120 musicians from 42 states.
He said he was a late addition to the group and the only contrabassoonist selected. Violinist Kevin Yu, a senior at Herricks High School, is the orchestra's only other Long Islander.
"I'm absolutely thrilled," said Grempel, 17. Of his instrument, he said: "It's very unique. It has a woody old sound that can give character to an orchestra."
Grempel became interested in the contrabassoon as a child after hearing Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" in the 1946 Disney animated film. To be selected for the orchestra, he sent a tape of himself playing songs such as Ravel's "Piano Concerto for the Left Hand" and Johannes Brahms' "Variations on a theme by Haydn."
The orchestra, sponsored by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, has a two-week training residency at SUNY Purchase before the tour, which includes stops in London and Moscow.
Grempel also is a graduate of The Juilliard School's Pre-College Division and a former member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York.