Ten-year-old Amaryn Olmeda is a young virtuoso in the world of violin. She’s performed across the country and studies at the prestigious Colburn School in Los Angeles alongside college-aged students.
Fitting, then, that she’ll perform as the featured soloist at the Auburn Symphony’s aptly named “Rising Star” Masterworks concert Sunday.
The performance is something of a full-circle moment for Olmeda, who won the Auburn Symphony’s Young Artists competition at age 8 in 2017. That was the event that cemented her serious interest in pursuing violin, said Amaryn’s mom, Twyla Olmeda, and now it will be her last performance in the Sacramento area before moving to Los Angeles this spring.
Her mom said Amaryn gets invitations to play at symphonies without winning related competitions, an uncommon feat for young musicians.
That’s what happened at the Auburn Symphony. While Olmeda won the Young Artists competition in 2017, her prize was to perform at the symphony’s 2018 concert.
They enjoyed her performance so much, said Auburn Symphony Director Anne Brown, that Olmeda was invited back for the Rising Star performance.
“She did such an amazing job and really charmed everyone,” Brown said. “She’s so extremely talented for such a young person and it is so special to invite her back for this performance.”
The symphony will play three pieces at the performance, Brown said. The concert will open with the prelude to Act 3 of “Lohengrin,” an opera by composer Richard Wagner.
The second piece, Violin Concerto #1 in G Minor, op. 26 by Bruch, features Olmeda as the soloist; Brown said the “famous, Romantic concerto” is a “vehicle for her to show off her skills.”
The concert will conclude with the Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, op. 100 by Prokofiev. Brown said this 45-minute piece is extremely technical and difficult for musicians, and that’s why they love it. The Prokofiev piece will not include a soloist, just the symphony, Brown said.
Olmeda said she’s excited for the show because the conductor, Peter Jaffe, is her favorite “maestro” and the Auburn Symphony is her favorite to play with. She also said she likes playing local shows because her friends and neighbors will come support her.
Olmeda said she loves the violin because it can have “lots of different sounds, like sad or sweet.” She first picked up the instrument at 4 years old after her brother tried to learn to play.
Twyla Olmeda said Amaryn picked it up right away and “just started playing, like within a week she could figure out a piece.”
Olmeda joined violin classes and surpassed classmates within a year, her mom said, so they sought a teacher whom she learned from for three years. Amaryn now practices four hours a day as part of her homeschooling, broken up by academic lessons and breaks for recess and lunch.
“She definitely has the natural talent to pursue a career,” Twyla Olmeda said, “But she also works very very hard at refining her skill, and she wants to share music with people around her.”
She also gets time to be a kid.
“I like to take ballet lessons. I love to do art and draw,” Amaryn said. “And we have a farm! I love being with our animals and being in the garden.”
Among hobbies, performances and practice, the Olmedas also find time to fly Twyla and Amaryn to Los Angeles once a week to the Colburn School, where Amaryn has lessons with acclaimed violinist Fabiola Kim. She also takes a music theory course and plays alongside college-age musicians in her studio class.
And Amaryn has long-term goals. When she grows up, she said, she wants to be a concert violinist and “travel all over”.
If you go
What: “Masterworks Concert II at the Mondavi: Rising Star”
When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20
Where: Jackson Hall in the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Cost: Tickets are $45 for adults, $20 for students, and $15 for kids under 18. Tickets are available at the Mondavi Center box office, online at mondaviarts.org, or by calling 530-754-2787.