Pascack Valley High School's Official News Site: Where there's smoke, there's fire.

The Smoke Signal

Filed under PV Life, Showcase

A life of music

PV junior has many accomplishments with his music

Julian+Stiles%2C+a+PV+junior%2C+plays+his+French+horn.+He+has+many+accomplishments+with+this+instrument+and+others+that+he+plays.+
Julian Stiles, a PV junior, plays his French horn. He has many accomplishments with this instrument and others that he plays.

Julian Stiles, a PV junior, plays his French horn. He has many accomplishments with this instrument and others that he plays.

Alysa Mehl

Alysa Mehl

Julian Stiles, a PV junior, plays his French horn. He has many accomplishments with this instrument and others that he plays.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The alarm blares as the clock strikes 5:45. Julian Stiles rolls out of bed and gets straight to work. He practices the French horn for an hour every day before school. When he gets home each day, he practices for three hours.

Stiles, a PV junior, has been involved in music his entire life. He plays the French horn, the piano, and the trumpet. He also participates in PV’s Chamber Choir, Bro Squad, and marching and concert bands.

Stiles usually practices under Mr. Joseph Zajac who has worked at PV as a band teacher for 40 years. He has an undergraduate degree of music education from Gettysburg College and a masters of composition and theory at Montclair State University.

“My favorite part of music is collaborating with others and creating music, expressing myself, and adding music together,” Stiles said. “Practicing is not fun for me, but the results are worth it.”

Stiles began playing piano in the first grade. When he entered the fourth grade, he began playing trumpet under Mr. Henry Schuck, George White Middle School’s band teacher. Later on,  Schuck suggested that Stiles try the French horn as well, resulting in him playing three instruments in total.

“I chose the French horn as my main instrument because the parts were more fun and plentiful than trumpet,” Stiles said. “Additionally, I love the sound of the French horn from my favorite movies like ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’”

On top of practicing at home, he has a horn lesson and piano lesson every week and rehearses with the New Jersey Symphony. Additionally, he has to practice and rehearse with the PV band as well as the all state, regional, and county bands. Stiles said this interferes with his academics, as he often needs to catch up on homework on the weekends.

“He practices morning and night for many hours both on his French horn and piano,” Zajac said. “Between his band and choir activities, it is a full time job for him that he works very hard at.”

Stiles had many influential musical figures in his life. His father plays music with friends normally for enjoyment and although Stiles never met him, his grandfather was a professional jazz trumpet player.

Outside of school, Stiles worked with a lot of very great musicians. Recently, he had a master class with Michelle Baker who played in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Rachel Childers who played in the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

“He is very driven and has gotten outstanding technique work,” Zajac said. “He has a private teacher, he works very hard with and he has developed musically tremendously and it has been great to watch.”

Stiles has had many accomplishments in his music career thus far. Stiles has performed at Carnegie Hall as a Grand Prix winner at the International Music and Arts Society’s Talented Young Musician Olympia Competition.

He has played the French horn and the trumpet with the Bergen Youth Orchestra for three seasons and is Principal Horn with the New Jersey Youth Symphony. He is honored to have been selected to play in the Bergen County Band for two seasons as Principal Horn, the North Jersey Wind Ensemble for two seasons with one as Principal Horn, the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble for two seasons with one as Principal Horn, and the New Jersey All-State Orchestra for two seasons as Principal Horn.

Stiles has also been accepted into the Honor Orchestra of American and the National Association for Music Education (NafME) All-Eastern Band.

“His achievements this year are outstanding: County Band, Region Band, All-State Band, and All-Eastern Band,” Zajac said.  “That’s quite an achievement for any high schooler to have and it has been wonderful to see.”

This summer, with New Jersey Youth Symphony, Stiles will be playing at  Musikverein Hall in Vienna, Austria. In the future, Stiles would like to go to college for the French horn and play professionally.

“He is probably one of the most serious music students I have had in 30 years,” Zajac said. “30 years ago I had two boys who had the same drive as Julian. They both went on to be in professional music and I could see Julian doing the same thing.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

Both first and last name must be included in order for your comment to be approved.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • A life of music

    PV Life

    ValleyChat: Welcome to the Universe

  • A life of music

    PV Life

    And then there was Hope

  • A life of music

    PV Life

    New teachers join PV community

  • A life of music

    PV Life

    10 tips for incoming freshmen

  • A life of music

    PV Life

    Welcome back!

  • A life of music

    PV Life

    “Class of 2017” Print Edition Portfolio

  • A life of music

    PV Life

    PV senior ends accomplished career

  • A life of music

    PV Life

    ValleyChat: Learning about robotics

  • A life of music

    PV Life

    Farewell to Lehman

  • A life of music

    PV Life

    From Valedictorian to Villanova

Pascack Valley High School's Official News Site: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
A life of music