(November 2018) Student of the Month: Miro Raj
The 2018 Philadelphia International Music Festival included seven orchestras, 40 chamber music ensembles, dozens of student solo performances, faculty recitals featuring principal players from The Philadelphia Orchestra, and four exciting concerto competitions. Additionally, our student body – which included over 400 musicians from throughout the U.S. and around the world – logged over a thousand hours of individual lesson time with over 30 members of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Students also partook in a range of additional educational opportunities, from introductory courses in conducting technique or music theory to additional ensemble opportunities such as choir or chamber music. Eleven-year-old violinist Miro Raj is one student who took full advantage of PIMF’s offerings. In addition to playing in the Gold Orchestra, Miro participated in the Conducting Seminar and won his division in the 2017 PIMF Concerto Competition.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Miro’s mother, Catherine, to ask her about how Miro got his start.
PIMF: How did Miro come to the violin? What musicians or teachers inspired him along the way?
Catherine: Miro began playing just before the age of seven after having been inspired by a kindergarten friend’s violin. Miro gained a fundamental understanding of the instrument through lessons at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia with Andrea Levine before going on to study privately with Lee Snyder. Having been fortunate enough to meet Itzak Perlman after a concert at the Kimmel Center, Miro will forever remember the advice to practice slowly, and Miro often refers to recordings by Mr. Perlman for inspiration and insight.
PIMF: What would you say thrills Miro about violin playing and music making? What are some of his non-musical interests?
C: Miro enjoys the thrill of live performance and the joy of making music with others in a chamber ensemble format, but he is also intrigued by the world of math and literature. He is often dreaming up parallels between the three worlds, whether looking for mathematical expressions in music or generating dramatic narratives to complement his repertoire.
PIMF: What is Miro most excited about in his current work on the instrument? And in the coming year?
C: Miro is very excited to take the stage for the first time as a concerto soloist with the Virginia Beach based ensemble Symphonicity in January 2019 as part of a collaboration with PIMF. He will be performing the Mozart Concerto No. 3 in G Major. He also looks forward to competing in other violin competitions throughout 2019.
PIMF: Where does Miro see himself, and music in his life, in 10-15 years?
C: Whether going into medical school or continuing as a professional violinist, music will always be a part of Miro’s life!
PIMF: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Catherine. It was a pleasure to have Miro as a participating student in the 2018 summer festival, and we wish him the best as he continues his musical journey!