K.J. McDonald

 I participated in SCVYO in 2005 and 2009.  I am now a high school senior. I continued playing violin after leaving SCVYO.  

At age 14 the renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman selected me to study with him in The Perlman Music Program (PMP).  I am one of only 17 violinists chosen worldwide from among thousands of talented young violinists under the age of 18.  PMP includes a seven week Summer Music School in Shelter Island, NY and a two week Winter Residency in Sarasota, FL each year.  At these various sessions, I receive daily group and weekly private instruction from Mr. Perlman along with additional coaching from his Juilliard staff.  This is a year-round program that continues until I turn 19 years old.  This past March I was chosen to perform at PMP’s premier Palm Beach Gala Concert in March.  In April I then attended and performed at the PMP Israel Residency held at the Tel Aviv Conservatory as one of ten violinists.  I am so honored and privileged to study under Mr. Perlman and his staff of world-class music instructors.

This past April I won 1st place in the 2014 Gail Newby Concerto Competition.  I was then honored to perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra.  In past years I have also performed Mozart Violin Concerto No.5 with the Palmdale Symphonic Orchestra and Piazzolla Otono Porteno with the Colburn Chamber Orchestra.  

I thoroughly enjoy playing in the 40-member PMP Orchestra, comprised of other talented string players.  Next to solo performance however, chamber music is my biggest love.  In 2013, as first violin, I started the Clemens Quartet (CQ) named after my favorite writer, Mark Twain.  Three of us have been playing together as a quartet since 2011.  Jason Corbin, another alumni of SCVYO is our second violinist and also a quartet founding member. CQ was a semi-finalist, one of twelve, in the 2014 Fischoff Competition.  Fischoff has been described as the International Olympics of chamber competitions.  

Our quartet won the 2013 California State VOCE competition sponsored by the California Music Association.  This allowed us to attend many master classes at USC and elsewhere and perform on many occasions.  Recently we have been chosen by the From The Top (FTT) organization to perform on National Public Radio (NPR).  FTT will fly us to Storrs Connecticut to perform on Nov 1st at a concert with other gifted young American musicians. This is another great accomplishment and honor for us. The show will be on air on December 1st.  I hope you can listen and enjoy with us.  

SCVYO supplied me with a string of musical firsts. SCVYO was my very first orchestra which definitely set a firm foundation of musical enjoyment.  The instructors and camaraderie with fellow musicians whetted my appetite for even more and better.  When I played in Prelude Strings, I remember still having difficulty playing third position.  My first experience as concert master was with the SCVYO during the 2009 summer course. That summer was also my first chamber group experience, one I will never forget.  

I really began my musical journey with SCVYO and I am very thankful for the instructors and the program for providing such a very positive experience that now I am intent on making music my life-long career.  

Sincerely,

K.J. McDonald