St. Johns middle school composer aims to be the next John Williams.

By Martie Thompson

Switzerland Point Middle School seventh grader Peter Goricki is a big fan of composer John Williams; the score to “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is his favorite composition. One day not long ago while doing some internet research on Williams, Goricki learned Williams’ net worth — and according to his mom, Dr. Constanze Goricki — Peter was so impressed he decided to start writing music.

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At first, he wrote for his family.

“My dad asked me to write him a song for his birthday,” Goricki said. “He liked it very much and then I wrote a song for him and my mom for Christmas and my mom’s birthday.”

After his initial songwriting success for his family, he decided to try to write his first full length piece of music — an opus with three movements. He showed it to Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra conductor Judy Steinmeyer, who was so intrigued she took the music home and played it. She determined it was too advanced for the youth symphony and suggested Goricki write a less complicated piece.

Thus, “Dreams,” a two-minute classical composition was born. Goricki said it took him four hours to write the piece, which was performed by the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra on May 9 — the first time that a piece composed by a student-musician was performed.

Although he started writing just more than a year ago, Goricki is a prolific composer and estimates that he has now written between 40 and 50 songs.

Goricki has been drawn to music for most of his young life, playing violin at age seven and piano at nine. He said he learned the violin first because he heard one played at church and liked the sound.He was encouraged by his elementary school music teacher at Hickory Creek, Rhonda Gauger.

Goricki now plays in the Switzerland Point Middle School Wind Ensemble, despite the fact he does not play a wind instrument. Director Laurie Zentz suggested he play the upright bass, so he learned that as well.

When he was eight years old, he auditioned with his violin for the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra and was accepted. Although he says he now prefers writing music, like his idol John Williams, Peter Goricki plans to continue playing.

While playing violin remains his favorite, Steinmeyer suggested he learn viola — a larger instrument with a different clef. Goricki picked it up easily and plans to play both violin and viola with the youth symphony next year. He plays in the Premiere Strings now, but plans to audition for the higher level Repertory or Philharmonic orchestras next year.

He is also in the jazz ensemble at his school and performs at his church in addition to the youth symphony. He hopes to be accepted at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts when it is time for high school.

In his spare time, he takes ballroom dancing lessons. His favorite dance is the tango and — not surprisingly — he has recently written a tango piece.

Photos courtesy Constanze Goricki

Peter Goricki is suited up and ready to perform with his violin with the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra.

TCL Goricki music prodigy 1606B

Peter Goricki writes music using a computer program that he bought with his allowance. He found pen and paper writing to be too tedious.


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