In the beginning, as a Churchill School fourth grader, music lessons were something Anya Brumfield did because she had to.
About the time she got to Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Anya knew music was going to play an important role in her life.
“I started really recognizing a passion at about 15 when I started downloading classical music. It just touched me,” she said.
Anya will show off her musical skills Sunday, Dec. 7, as a violin soloist with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. She will perform the Violin Concerto in E minor, op. 64 by Felix Mendelssohn during the 1 p.m. concert by the CYSO’s Debut and Concert Orchestras at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St. in Chicago.
Anya, 17, said she originally wanted to play the viola, but at the Churchill introductory meeting, she was urged to try the violin. Since those early days, Anya has been developing a repertoire that has won her numerous honors.
In 2014, she has been named co-winner of the CYSO Concert Orchestra Concerto Competition. She took third place at the American Music Institute Violin Competition, and she was selected to attend the Sphinx Performance Academy summer strings program at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio.
She is still practicing the Mendelssohn piece for Saturday’s performance, but is also moving on to Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. It will take several months for Anya to perfect the piece. Once she has it down, she will play it in several competitions.
Anya has been a student at the Music Institute of Chicago for nearly two years. She plays with the CYSO Encore Chamber Symphony Orchestra made up of the select members of the chamber symphony.
Her teacher, Addison Teng, expects her to practice four hours a day, although with her involvement in H-F’s Viking Orchestra and Viking Symphonic Strings she practices about two hours Monday through Thursday and four hours on weekends.
While classical pieces are her specialty, Anya is widening her repertoire to other genres. Two years ago she attended a jazz academy. She’s now moving into blues pieces now.
“People should know most classical musicians aren’t only good at classical music,” the H-F junior said. “They think more like Yo-Yo Ma,” the famed American cellist who has recorded folk, bluegrass, traditional Chinese music, Argentinian tangos and more.
Anya, the daughter of Brenda and Antoine Brumfield, will be traveling to Spain with the H-F Vikings Orchestra in the spring. She’s busy raising money for the trip and practicing with her fellow orchestra members under the direction of Dr. B.J. Engrav.
Anya is tutoring fifth grader Katie Douglas on the violin as part of her fundraising efforts.
“She’s about the same age I was when I started, but she’s one of the few students who tells me as she leaves that she’s going home to practice.”
Contact Marilyn Thomas at [email protected]