PIMF Prepares A Young Violinist For International Honors!

We hope all our PIMF friends and family enjoyed the recent 4th of July holiday; perhaps you took in some dazzling fireworks displays?
PIMF student Mio Imai made fireworks of her own: she took the concerto she polished at PIMF with Kimberly Fisher, Principal Second Violin of The Philadelphia Orchestra, just two weeks earlier to Italy and handily blew away the field as well as the adjudication panel to win the Grand Prize at the “Piccolo Violino Magico” international violin competition.
We are bustin’ all our buttons over this hard-working young violinist and thrilled to be part of her journey!
The conservatory Accademia d’archi Arrigoni organizes this annual event for violinists ages nine through 13 in the violin-crazy town of San Vito al Tagliamento.
After arriving very late the night before due to airline cancellations, our talented but extremely jet-lagged Pennsylvania tween powered through the first round of 20 accepted competitors on the 4th of July with some Pergolesi (see it here: Mio Imai, Pergolesi / Concerto in B flat major – YouTube).
Mio’s First round rendition of Saint-Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso is here, and check the 1:19:04 point for the Second round here. By Friday the field was reduced in the semifinalist round to the final four, a group Mio bested with the work she polished and perfected at PIMF’s June session.
Mio, now 12, is a seasoned performer and competitor — a soloist at age nine with the New York Session Symphony, followed by spotlight gigs with the Rowan University String Ensemble, Temple University Youth Chamber Orchestra, Old York Road Symphony, Ambler Symphony and Main Line Symphony Orchestra. In addition to taking top honors in the PIMF Concerto Competition, Mio won 3rd prize in US MTNA National Competition (2022), 2nd prize in Leonid Kogan International Competition (2021) and 3rd prize in Chicago Violin International Competition (2021).
And Sunday, she won the Grand Prize, a €5.000 scholarship to Accademia d’archi Arrigoni and a violin made by Fabio Piagentini, and took the breath away from everyone in the hall with her performance of Wienawski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, op. 22 and her self-selected encore, Kreisler’s Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice.
See it all here – she’s first up around 24:30 in this Facebook Live video (which also provided all of the screenshots of the magic of Piccolo Violino Magico!)
Mio told us that besides enjoying the beautiful town and supportive citizens (she stayed in a historic 200-year-old building!), she loved all the rehearsals with two symphony orchestras and “meeting other amazing violinists from around the world!”
The experience also renewed her respect for being adaptable.
“Flexibility is very important as a musician,” she reflected. “The surrounding environment was constantly changing and I had to adapt to these new circumstances. For example, this competition took place on hot summer days. The temperature was ~70 to ~93 F, with high humidity. There was no air conditioning in my hotel, practice room, and backstage. Both I and my instrument had to adjust to the new environment. In addition, the order of pieces was suddenly changed on stage during my 2nd round.”
She’s glad she spent a week at PIMF in June to prepare for the challenges – including performing in a Master Class presented by Philadelphia Orchestra Assistant Concertmaster, Marc Rovetti.
“PIMF gave me multiple performance opportunities and a surrounding environment where I could really focus on music,” Mio said. “I was able to study with world-famous musicians and get their advice, and my level of performance increased a lot. The staff members helped me by making a schedule in which I was able to train for the tight competition week schedule. All of this helped me deliver the best performance I could during the competition.”
Check out PIMF.org for more on how our programs can bring out the best in any young classical musician. There are openings for SELECT instruments in our July session, which starts Saturday, July 15 – so get us your auditions immediamente! (That’s Italian for You Snooze, You Lose!)