by Maria Lloyd
This evening I had the pleasure of speaking with a talented 15-year-old virtuoso violinist out of Atlanta, GA. While most teens of his age, ethnicity, and gender are emulating the actions of hip-hop artists and athletes who engage in risky behavior, Andrew Koonce is honing his craft as a skilled virtuoso violinist.
Having attained a laundry list of achievements, including the highest honor of being named Concertmaster of the Georgia All State 6-8th Grade Orchestra in Savannah, Georgia, and receiving the Heritage Music Festival Maestro Award, Koonce still believes he has a long way to go to achieve his ultimate goal.
In case you’re wondering what that goal is, Koonce simply said “to get better.” Driven, intelligent, and persistent, Koonce reveres Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as his hero because of Dr. King’s efforts to open doors to make it possible for him and other African Americans to achieve their goals. He also reveres famed violinist Itzhak Pearlman as a role model, citing he has incredible skill despite having a physical disability acquired from contracting Polio at the age of four.
When I asked the teen what words of encouragement he has for troubled youth in his demographic race and age group, he simply said: “Get involved in something.” He also recommended various activities that teens can immerse themselves in. My conversation with this bright child reminded me of the reward of good parenting, as evidenced by his father’s outreach to our team and support of his son’s talent. I have no doubt in my mind that Andrew Koonce will be a globally respected name in the classical music sector. If you’re interested in staying abreast of his performances, visit him on Facebook by clicking here.