Music soothes, energizes, entertains, and for 16-year-old Cecilia Martin, it inspires. What’s more inspirational is that this young, award-winning violinist from Columbus, Ohio studies music while going to school and acts as Co-Concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra. How does one maintain a harmonious balance between music, school, and life? Pull up a chair and find out—although Cecilia already has the first one.
A Musical Journey
Violin wasn’t the first instrument Cecilia tried. Piano lessons began in preschool until she was able to convince her mother, Laraine Martin, to let her try violin at age seven. “I first wanted to start playing the violin because my mom used to play it, but now I am continuously inspired to play because of the many friendships and connections I have made because of music.”
These connections include her teachers—Tatiana Hanna of the Columbus Symphony and Kurt Sassmanshaus from the Cincinnati Starling Project, an educational program for talented young string players. In addition to her involvement with the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra, Cecilia is also the first violin of the Marquis String Quartet through the Chamber Music Connection. “Music gives me a way to connect and work with other people and it lets me express many different feelings.”
So, how did she feel about winning the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s 2020 Young Musician Competition? “[It] has given me many more musical opportunities and I am extremely grateful to have won it.” Not only did the win come with accolades and a cash prize, but the competition provided professional feedback from collegiate faculty.
A Prelude to the Future
The professional feedback from the competition only strengthened Cecilia’s focus on what’s to come. While she has her sights set on college, she’s still busy balancing music and high school. As a Laurel Springs student, it’s easier to fit everything in. “Laurel Springs has given me the flexibility that I need to be able to pursue music. Because of Laurel Springs, I don’t have to worry about losing time for practicing and I still know that I am receiving a good education.”
Even with current restrictions and cancelled concerts, Cecilia still has a lot going on. This month the Marquis String Quartet has their last event of the season, the Fischoff National Chamber Competition, and it’s going virtual. “We also won first place in the OSTA competition, Honorable Mention at the Midwest National Chamber Music Competition, and Bronze at the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition.” Once summer is over, Cecilia starts preparing for college auditions while staying involved with the Starling Project, taking lessons, and continuing her education. Like the music she plays, Cecilia’s ability to harmonize the different notes of her life is just as worthy as the laurels she’s received.