PARKVILLE -- Over the many years that we at FOX 4 News have spotlighted young achievers in our Reaching 4 Excellence segment, we have focused on a number of terrific musicians. In this week's report, we have perhaps the finest we have ever come discovered in our midst. Maria Ioudenitch. Remember that name. You just may be watching a great artist in the making.
The year 2012 has been a break-out year for a remarkable 16-year-old violinist who is well aware she has something extra special.
"Every year I grow as a violinist and as a musician," says Maria Ioudenitch, "and I begin to cherish that more and more."
This spring, Maria Ioudenitch captivated the judges at the celebrated Johansen International Music Competition for Young String Players in Washington, DC where she finished second. And she followed that up in late May with a star turn soloing with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts as the winner of the Symphony's Young Artists Competition for 2012. She played a long and very difficult concerto by Khachaturian, by heart and seemingly flawlessly, earning raves from the professionals in the orchestra.
"Clearly, Maria is an extraordinary young musician," says Frank Byrne, Kansas City Symphony Executive Director. "Maria is a very mature musician for someone of her age. And technically very skilled. She really comes to our stage with a depth of knowledge of the music and the technical ability to pull it off."
But Maria brings much more that that -- stage charisma, performing flair and a depth of feeling for the music that really sets her apart.
"Of course, it is important to think of what the composer was trying to say and the details that he put in," says Maria. "But I think ultimately everything comes from my own heart and the interpretation somehow flows into it."
"In the future, you really see a great artist in the making," says acclaimed international violin player Ben Sayevich. Sayevich is now teaching at Park University in Parkville.
He's been Maria's private instructor for several years and has know her since she was about three. That's around the time she emigrated from Russia to the United States with her musician parents.
"One of the greatest things about her playing is an incredible naturalness with the instrument and incredible naturalism with the music," says Sayevich. "The communication with the audience is on a very unique level. The people sort of are in awe."
Maria's goal is to be a professional solo artist. To get there she knows it will take work -- hours and hours of practice and rehearsal every day beyond what she's already doing. It is, she says, all worth it.
"Sometimes it's not fun at all when you have to practice so much and something doesn't work and you're just struggling so much but ultimately, it's great love which I feel for this."
Maria, who just started her junior year at The Barstow School in Kansas City has already has traveled extensively in the U.S. and some foreign countries playing top competitions, festivals and concerts. And she spent most of her summer doing music in Vermont and Hawaii. Her next moment in the spotlight is October 13. She'll solo with the Prince George's Philharmonic Orchestra in suburban Washington, DC.
FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism.
Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 5 p.m.