Award-winning violinist plays another benefit concert at Community Music Center

Find out what Becky Anderson has been doing in the year since she played her first benefit concert for CMC – and, why it’s an important gift she gave…

Community Music Center alumna Becky Anderson unpacks her violin, as she readies for her benefit performance.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
On January 21, 2008, a gifted 17-year-old violinist gave a virtuoso performance at as a benefit for student scholarships at SE Portland’s Community Music Center (CMC), a resource of Portland Parks & Recreation.

Now age 19, CMC alumna Becky Anderson returned to her alma mater to play another benefit concert on December 22, while on holiday break from her current school – the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

“CMC was very important to me, growing up,” Anderson told us, as she prepared to play. “I started taking general music lessons at three years of age; and at five, started playing violin here, as well.”

Throughout high school, Anderson said her teachers’ studios held performances at CMC. “And, I took some classes here. It was very important in my musical development until I graduated from high school.”

CMC Director Gregory Dubay tells the concert audience that their organization spends about $250,000 per year on professional staff to teach their students – about half of the funds are donated through their foundation.

Now attends prestigious school
Anderson said she received a full music school scholarship to the Curtis Institute. “I study with Ida Kavafian – she’s the main reason I chose to go to Curtis. She’s an incredible violinist, and a great teacher. The school is small – a total of 160 students – just enough to fill out a full symphony orchestra. There’s lots of personal attention.”

Asked if it’s challenging for her to play alongside sophisticated young musicians. Anderson smiles and laughs. “Is it a challenge?  No. It’s quite inspiring actually.  I’m not a very competitive person. When I’m around someone who plays extremely well, I learn from them, and appreciate what they are doing.”

Already too many awards to mention
The young violinist didn’t want to speak about the many accolades, honors, and trophies she’s already received.

But, Anderson’s awards, we learned, include the 2008 National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ “youngARTS Gold Award”, which led to being named a Presidential Scholar in both the Arts and Academics and an invitation to perform at the Kennedy Center. She was also awarded the bronze medal and Bach Award at the 2008 Stulberg International String Competition, and was one of three finalists selected for the 2007 American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition.

Additionally, she’s traveled the globe, playing and soloing with renowned symphony orchestras. In May 2009, Becky was invited to a workshop with Michael Tilson Thomas as a part of a TV documentary series that will be aired on HBO.

Violin virtuoso Becky Anderson plays Sonata #5 by Eugene Ysaye.

Center director welcomes alumna
The Director of the Community Music Center, Gregory Dubay, said he welcomed both the financial and personal support Anderson provides.

“Music learning opportunities in schools are diminishing year-by-year,” Dubay said. “It’s so vital that the Center continues to provide music education services for youth who otherwise would have no opportunity to learn an instrument, or to study music or learn about the music of our culture and our times.”

Only half of the CMC’s budget comes from the City of Portland, Dubay pointed out. “Our non-profit organization called Community Music Center Inc., benefit from tonight’s concert. They provide assistance, permitting families who couldn’t afford music lessons for their children to receive need-based tuition scholarships for music lessons. About 1,000 kids and adults get music lessons here every week.”

During her program, Anderson performed works by Chausson and Beethoven, with piano accompanist Janet Coleman and soloed works by Bach and Ysaÿe, to a capacity audience of about 150 people. She plays, we were told, on a Vuillaume bow which is on loan from the David Kerr Violin Shop on S.E. Holgate Boulevard.

For more information about Community Music Center, call (503) 823-3177, or visit their website: CLICK HERE to view it.

The audience enjoys Becky Anderson playing Johan Sebastian Bach’s, Partita No. 1 in B Minor with verve and virtuosity.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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