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While the Class of 2016 is carrying books and notebooks to class next year, Eli Pandolfi will carry his French horn and sheet music.
Pandolfi has big shoes to fill. Not only was his grandfather principal French horn player in the St. Louis Symphony for 35 years, but he has four other living relatives who are professional horn players too.
After graduating WGHS, Pandolfi will study musical performance at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. It’s such an exclusive music school that out of 35 French horn auditions, the conservatory only accepted three graduate students and one under-graduate student: Pandolfi.
Pandolfi didn’t always have such success with music. He started off playing Trombone in Lindbergh’s sixth grade because they didn’t offer French horn. His skill on the trombone was “not good,” Pandolfi said. It wasn’t until seventh grade that he was finally able to play French horn.
The French horn was appealing to Pandolfi because of the connection he had with his grandfather. Pandolfi said, “He’s the reason I started the horn.”
At family gatherings, Pandolfi’s grandpa, the best French horn player in St. Louis, used to give him lessons.
“Being able to hear him play and know what he does let me know it was possible to have a music career from a young age,” Pandolfi said.
Since then, Pandolfi has been a part of the St. Louis Youth Symphony, the best high school level symphony in St. Louis, for three years. He’s also been the All-State principal chair for the past two years and one of the top three chairs in the St. Louis All-Suburban band since sophomore year.