Sky’s the limit for young violinist prodigy in LoomisBy: Brody Fernandez Of Gold Country Media
Ten-year-old Amaryn Olmeda of Loomis is quite the career violinist and her next major concert will be playing at the Mondavi Center at University of California at Davis.
The Mondavi Center is just the latest major venue that Amaryn will be featured.
Amaryn debuted as a 6 year old at the Honors Concert in Colorado at the Suzuki Strings Institute in the town of Beaver. Since that time, she has been a soloist with the following orchestras:
Sacramento Youth Symphony Academic Orchestra, Concerto Competition Winner 2016
Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra in Grass Valley, Young Artist Competition Winner, 2016
Merced Symphony, Young Artist Competition Winner, 2017
Auburn Symphony, Young Artist Competition Winner, 2017
Music in the Mountains Orchestra, by invitation, 2018
Oakland Symphony Young People's Concert Orchestra, by invitation, 2018
Sacramento Youth Symphony Premier Orchestra on their European Performance Tour of Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Hungary, by invitation, 2018
In the coming year,, she will perform with Auburn Symphony at the Mondavi Center, the Solano Symphony, Music in the Mountains Orchestra and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra.
Gold Country Media asked Amaryn’s parents, Todd and Twyla Olmeda, what it has been like to watch their daughter grow into such a renown talent.
“It is wonderful to see Amaryn grow and mature into a talented violinist,” Twyla Olmeda said. “She works so hard at refining her playing, which would make any parent proud.”
Along with the rewards for her daughter’s lifestyle comes difficulties.
“Having a child with a talent like hers comes with some challenges,” Twyla Olmeda said. “The travel for lessons, competitions and concerts is time-consuming and requires lots of juggling. We want all of our children to have opportunities to pursue their interests, so balancing their needs with Amaryn's gets tricky. Homeschooling with the help of our charter school, Sutter Peak, helps free up time during the day so we can cater to everyone's needs.”
Amaryn’s father is “extremely proud” of his daughter.
“We are so excited for her and try to encourage her as much as possible,” Todd Olmeda said. “She has a real gift for playing the violin.”
Gold Country Media asked Amaryn about her impressive career as a violinist at such a young age. Amaryn’s answers follow:
What made you want to play violin over any other instrument?
“I started playing the violin when I was 3 1/2 years old. My older brother, Peter, was playing the violin but he hated it. I told my mom that I wanted to play it and she let me. I really liked it and never wanted to stop. Sometimes I will play piano too but I really love the violin. The violin has a nice sound. I can make lots of different sounds on the violin, like harmonics. Or I can change the sound by using vibrato. That's when you shake your fingers while playing a note. You can't do as many different sounds on the piano or French horn or any other instrument.”
Do you want to play violin forever and become a professional artist when you grow up?
“Yes! I definitely want to be a professional concert violinist when I grow up. I get to make lots of people happy with my playing and I get to meet so many interesting people and visit new places. I love playing with orchestras. It is so much fun. I went to Europe this summer with the Sacramento Youth Symphony Premier Orchestra and played a solo with them. I made people happy and they couldn't even speak English. But we all spoke the language of music. It feels good to make people happy.”
What else do you do for fun besides playing violin?
“I like taking art classes and ballet lessons. I also love to read. I cannot live without books! I love the ‘Who Am I’ history books and ‘American Girl Doll’ historical fiction. I also collect American Girl dolls. I have five dolls and hope to get two more. I live on a little hobby farm, so I help my family with gardening. I have two cats named Russy and Dora and I love taking care of them. We have chickens but my older brother takes care of them.”
How has living in a small town and having a supportive family helped you grow as a violinist?
“My neighbors are the best in the entire world. I love all of them so much.They let me come over and play for them any time I like and they are always at my concerts, no matter how far they are. They also help my family by driving me to my extracurricular classes, like ballet class or art class. My neighbors are like my family. My family is supportive because my parents take me to lessons and pay for everything for me. My brothers help me get ready for my concerts and help pack my lunch when I go out of town for lessons. We go to a small church in Penryn and they are so loving and wonderful, too. Everyone helps me so much.”
Who is your favorite violinist and what is your favorite genre/song to play?
“My favorite violinist is Hilary Hahn. In November, I heard her play Bach in San Francisco and she was amazing. I got to talk with her after the concert and she had lots of advice for me about being a professional violinist. She is really nice. She has a nice, clean sound that is very loud. I like to play classical music. My favorite piece to play is “Bruch Violin Concerto.” I really like Shostakovich and Sibelius and hope to play their concerti soon.”