Brooklyn teen dreams of being a trombonist in the New York Philharmonic

BROOKLYN — Seventeen-year-old Justin Laurenceau of Midwood, Brooklyn has a dream.

“My dream is to become principal trombonist of the New York Philharmonic,” Laurenceau told PIX11 in a series called City of Dreams.

"I feel music has uplifted me and inspired me to reach into new goals,” Laurenceau told PIX11. “And it has also enlightened me and opened my eyes to different aspects of life,” he added.

Laurenceau began playing the trombone when he was just eight years old, part of the first year of The Harmony Program bringing music lessons to 300 children in underserved communities across the city.

“When Justin started playing the trombone, it was as big as he was,” Anne Fitzgibbon, the founder and Executive Director of the Harmony Program told PIX11. “He was in third grade and had never played an instrument. Now to see him playing with musical great like Wynton Marsalisand holding his own, it is wonderful,” she added.

Laurenceau's accomplishments are the result of lots of talent and an equal amount of discipline. The senior at James Madison High School tries to practice up to five hours every day.

“I generally like to focus on technical abilities,” Laurenceau said. "And then the lyrical expression I can express through my playing.”

PIX11 caught up with Laurenceau rehearsing for a Carnegie Hall performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere” from West Side Story.

Afterwards, Laurenceau posed for pictures with world famous concert pianist Lang Lang and Bernstein’s daughter, Jamie.

“For me, there is nothing more wonderful than seeing my dad’s music being played by young people who come from all different backgrounds,” Jamie Bernstein, Leonard Bernstein’s daughter, told PIX11. “That’s what he was all about. He worked so hard to make the world a better place and he did so much of that through his music,” she added.

Laurenceau is waiting to hear from top music conservatories he’s applied to for next year.

But he knows that’s just one more step on the very long, hard road of becoming a professional trombonist.

“Music has definitely changed my life,” Laurenceau said.