We inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts

Featured Artist: Aaron Meyer

Concert Rock Violinist Aaron
Concert Rock Violinist Aaron

Who says sweets aren’t good for you? Motivated by a violin shaped cake, Aaron Meyer took up the instrument at age 5, performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 11, and has been wowing audiences across the world ever since. As a Concert Rock violinist, Aaron combines the energy of contemporary music with the technical skill of a clasically trained performer, and has shared stages and recorded with Pink Martini, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and Everclear. The son of a violin teacher, Aaron is committed to music education and has been teaching with Young Audiences for the last 10 years. Portlanders can catch Aaron’s annual Holiday Concert December 21 and 22 and youngsters can participate in a FREE Music Education Workshop on Dec 22 at noon (click here to register).

What is your art practice outside of teaching? I am a concert rock violinist….I compose, record, and perform my own original music and arrangements with my 6 piece band.

How does Oregon inspire your art making? Oregonians in general are very supportive of anything local and unique to their area from beverages and food to art and music. Portland and Oregon is a great place for an independent artists to thrive creatively and make a living. The audiences in Oregon expect something different and unique. This is a perfect place for me to have a home base.

If you could be any animal, what would you be? I would be my dog, Bootsie….schipperke/boston terrier mix

Aaron Meyer performing at his 2012 Holiday concert.
Aaron Meyer performing at his 2012 Holiday concert.

What is one of your earliest art memories? One of my favorite memories as a kid was watching one of my fathers first violin student’s solo with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The soloist was an 11 year old girl and I was 5 years…I was blown away

What’s the best thing about being a Young Audiences teaching artist? The best thing is working with the kids and hopefully inspiring them….I love it when I see children excited about learning in general through music.

Why is art important to kids? Art helps people be creative and think creatively….you can apply your creative to business or problem solving or construction or anything…..it helps the mind think in different ways stimulating this part of the brain is so good for all young people

Aaron teaching school children in Fiji.
Aaron teaching school children in Fiji.

What teacher or artist was inspirational to you as a kid? My father was my first teacher….he gave me the passion for playing the violin….he was also a full time teacher of young people on the violin and he taught me so much about how to teacher

Who is your art hero now? My art hero is a guitarist named Tim Ellis who I get to work with and perform with all the time. We compose all of our music together. He is a fantastic musician and guitairst.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? A scuba diving guide in Fiji

What was the pivotal moment or series of events which pushed you from an average kid playing violin to someone who would dedicate their life to the pursuit of innovation as a violinist? One of the most influential moments was when I was 5 years old. My father, a violin teacher in Philadelphia at the time had a student who won a competition to solo with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The student was 11 yrs old and I was 5 yrs old. I went to this performance and watched this young gal perform with one of the greatest orchestra’s in the world. I was blown away and told my Dad, “I want to do that!”. After the performance, my father threw a party for the gal who won the competition and soloed with the Orchestra. At the party, out came a giant cake in the shape of the violin for the gal. I turned to my Dad and said, “Forget the concert, I want that cake!!” Dad said, “you need to win the competition and then solo with the Orchestra, then I will get you your cake.” I guess at that moment, I was committed to the violin and music. When I was 11 years old, I soloed with the Philadelphia Orchestra. I tried to quit the violin after I soloed with the Philly Orchestra and another time when I was older for about 5 years but I kept coming back to the violin. It just wouldn’t leave me alone. Thank goodness for that cake!!

Catch a glimpse of the young Aaron Meyer below and find more music on his website – www.aaronmeyer.com

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