It is only a matter of time before the music world will know of Yesseh Furaha-Ali. The 16-year-old Upper Darby resident is in line to become a part of the area’s storied musical history.
As a member of the Tim Janis American Christmas Carol Orchestra, Furaha-Ali performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City last month alongside Grammy award-winner Sarah McLachlan. Proficient in playing seven instruments, the Upper Darby High School junior played the clarinet and saxophone during the benefit concert, which supported The Golden Hat Foundation.
Furaha-Ali was excited about “the fact that Carnegie Hall is “one of the best, most famous and prestigious halls to play in.”
A musician for just about half his life, the talented student has appeared on bills with internationally renowned artists including Donald Byrd, Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove.
He was selected for membership into the National Society of High School Scholars earlier this year and participated in the globally recognized summer program at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
“All of these programs have impacted my progress in many ways,” Furaha-Ali said. “I play with different people from all over the world and from different parts of the (Philadelphia) area who, through music, are able to come together. It’s wonderful.”
Dedicated to his craft as student-athletes are to their respective sports, Furaha-Ali has honed his skills here with the Kimmel Center Youth Jazz Ensemble Creative Music Program, Settlement Music School and the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts.
He is scheduled to perform live Jan. 19 at the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation gala.
“Being committed, playing music, staying humble, and having admiration, joy and love of music are some of the characteristics that have made me successful,” Furaha-Ali said.
The youngest child of Nashid Furaha-Ali, Yesseh attributes his achievements thus far to his “family, friends, music teachers and all who have believed in and supported me.”
With a few recordings under his belt anda strong sense of respect for music history, Yesseh was voted by Philadelphia magazine as one of “Eight Kids Who’ll Restore Your Faith in the Future.” The magazine called him “the next John Coltrane.”
Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie also has nothing but praise for the young Furaha-Ali.
“He is an amazing young musician, a great student and a great young man,” the mayor said. “I saw his father supporting him at every school and music-related meeting or event in the township.”