• By: Neapolitan Connection staff

December's Young Artist: Julia Pandolfo

Julia Pandolfo is a young talented Toronto-based violinist who has been a repeat prize winner in many local music festivals and competitions, including the Toronto Kiwanis Festival of Music and Neapolitan Music Festival's Young Masters of Classical Music. We were able to catch up with Julia to learn a bit more about her musical endeavors:

Q. When, and how did your musical life begin?

JP: My musical journey began before I had even been born. My mother, an avid classical music fan, would play Mozart and Beethoven whilst she was pregnant with me and take me to all of my elder sister's violin lessons. At the age of four I picked up my own sixteenth-sized violin and never looked back.

Q. Do you play any other instruments?

JP: Other than the violin, I also play the viola as well as a bit of piano and flute.

Q. Who have been your biggest influences in your musical development?

JP: My biggest musical influence as a young musician was my first orchestra conductor, the late Maestro Robert Raines. Never before had I met someone who loved music so truly and sincerely, and this passion shone through at all moments in time, whether he was chastising the flute section for their intonation or dancing on stage during a concert to inspire us to really feel the character of the music. These rehearsals were my introduction to the broadness and beauty of music beyond my limited experience as a young solo violinist. Another musician who has more recently become another source of inspiration for me is Maestro Peter Oundjian, conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Having the honour of performing for Maestro Oundjian in a masterclass was a huge motivator for me to continue playing violin at a time in my life when my passion for music was wavering. His devotion to musical expression bolstered my resolve to continue playing and performing and continues to do so even months after his class.

Q. Do you have a preferred composer or genre of music, and why?

JP: I am an avid fan of most genres of music, ranging from classical music to hip hop to alternative rock. However, one of my favourite composers within the classical music genre is P.I. Tchaikovsky. His music is so expansive and expressive and has always resonated with me very deeply. Being able to learn and perform his famous Violin Concert was an absolute honour and will always be one of my favourite pieces to perform.

Q. Where in the world do you dream of performing one day?

JP: I have always dreamed of performing in the Grosser Musikvereinssaal in Vienna, Austria. Vienna is one of the most influential locations in classical music history; additionally, this concert hall is said to be the best in the world, having housed conductors such as Brahms and Mahler. Being able to perform in such a cultural epicenter would be incredible.

Q. Is there a violinist that you would you like to meet one day?

JP: I know I am not alone when I name David Oistrakh as my violinist of choice. His sound quality and musicality are unparalleled and I would absolutely love to discuss his inspirations behind his musical choices.

Q. Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

JP: Even from a young age I have housed dreams of becoming a medical doctor. I hope that by the 10 year mark I would have completed medical school and be in residence, on my way towards becoming a successful physician.

Here is Julia playing the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major:


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