Twin classical musicians who graduated from Wilson High School are making their mark in the music world.
Harper Randolph, who plays the viola, is on a mission to make classical music cool.
“Kind of just keep it interesting and bring quote unquote classical instruments into a different scene than what they’ve been traditionally in,” she said.
If she ever needs inspiration, she doesn’t have to look far. Her twin brother, Cole, is a professional cellist.
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“When we were in lockdown and everybody was trying to find a way to connect, music is this universal language,” he said.
They’ve both spoken the language since they were little growing up in Bloomingdale in Northwest D.C. the children of a professor of music composition at Howard University. Their brother and sister also play instruments, which made for interesting times when people walked by the house.
“They would see four small brown kids playing string instruments and be like, What?” Cole Randolph said. “Like they saw a unicorn or something.”
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“There was definitely a healthy competition,” he said. “If I heard that my brother could play something better than I could, that would motivate me to take my cello out and practice.”
That practice has certainly paid off. Cole Randolph is a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Harper Randolph studies music at the University of Michigan. She recently played in the national Sphinx Competition for musicians of color, taking home third prize and $10,000.
“That was a great accomplishment for me,” she said. “I think just having all the hard work and everything pay off, and I just learned so much about myself.”
As they move forward in their musical journeys, they also hope to give back.
“Just finding ways to inspire the younger generation, inspire kids of color,” Harper Randolph said.
“The main thing is serve as a role model for them, to say, Look, if I can do this, it’s definitely not too late for you to do it,” her brother said.