W'Air Are They Now?
Langston Hughes II, Class of 2022
When it came time to choose an instrument in middle school, Langston Hughes II picked the saxophone because he thought it looked cool. “Looking back,” says the Artist in Resident (AIR) alum, “I’m so grateful I did. The saxophone is the instrument that most closely delivers the sound that I hear in my head.”
A recent graduate of Howard University, the award-winning multi-instrumentalist, composer, and bandleader is now pursuing a graduate degree in jazz studies at The Juilliard School in New York City.
WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF JUILLIARD SO FAR?
Starting the school year at Juilliard has been quite an experience. Juilliard is one of the most rigorous programs globally and is home to some of the most talented young cats in the world. Adjusting to this level of intensity has been a challenge, but I’m beginning to realize that being constantly surrounded by such incredible talent is a true privilege. It’s an environment that forces one to grow.
HAVE YOU MADE ANY PROFESSIONAL CONNECTIONS WITH OTHER AIR ALUM?
Strathmore AIR is a unique program because its alumni are highly active figures in the music scene. Recently, I’ve done a few gigs with several AIR alumni, including musicians like James Fernando, Jo Palmer, Eliot Seppa, and AYO, to name a few. I’ve also developed a pretty close relationship with my AIR mentor, Leigh Pilzer, an invaluable figure who has helped me with so much.
I’m currently focusing on honing my craft during my time in New York. Being at Juilliard, in the heart of the city, provides a unique opportunity to leverage the connections and resources available to me. In addition to my academic commitments, I’m also maintaining a regular performance schedule with my band.