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Jennifer Cha, 14, violin

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Our guest today was 14 year old violinist Jennifer Cha of Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville. Jennifer was a finalist in this year’s Crain-Maling Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Auditions and performed for us music by Spanish composer/violin virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate, Alexander Glazunov and more.

“Hot Canary” by Paul Nero

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One of the rising stars of the Chicago music scene, 14 year-old violinist Jennifer Cha is already a veteran of the concert stage. Jennifer began playing the violin at the age of 4 while living in South Korea. She gave her first violin recital at the age of 7 and made her concerto debut at the age of 11 with the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Mina Zikri. Miss Cha toured Germany in 2003 and Italy in 2005 for performances, including performing for Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican as part of the Betty Haag Magical Strings of Youth.

She has won numerous top prizes and awards from various competitions including the Sejong Cultural Society Concerto Competition, the Concerto Competition in Honor of Confucius, MYA Concerto Competition, and DePaul University’s Annual Concerto Festival. In 2009 and 2011, Jennifer was invited to perform at the Korean-American Day celebration at the Richard Daley Hall in Chicago. Jennifer has appeared at the Ravinia Music Festival as part of the Kraft for Kids series.

This season, Jennifer was chosen to be one of 15 finalists for From the Top’s Big Break Contest out over 400 applicants nationwide, and was featured on NPR’s website as a result. Most recently, Jennifer Cha became one of 6 finalists in the Crain-Maling Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Auditions. She performed in Music in the Loft’s March 11th concert. She has also been chosen to play in Music in the Loft’s 2013 season. From March 29-31st, she traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa to perform on From the Top’s radio broadcast. As a result of winning the Neuqua Valley Concerto Competition, Jennifer performed Ziguenerweisen with the Neuqua Valley Symphony Orchestra on April 12th. Also, on April 16th, she will be performing on WFMT’s Introductions Series. On July 26th, Jennifer will be performing the Glazunov Violin Concerto with the Wheaton Symphony Orchestra.

She has also participated in master classes with Ida Kavafian and Ilya Kaler. Jennifer has also been chosen as a scholarship recipient of the Hotchkiss Summer Portals Program where she worked with Ida Kavafian, Melvin Chen, Christopher Shepard, Harumi Rhodes, Jessica Lee, Nicholas Canellakis, Melissa Reardon, and members of the Miró Quartet, the Brentano String Quartet, and the Shanghai Quartet. Jennifer volunteers for the Fine Arts Healing Program at Edward Hospital in Naperville along with her older sister and friend, where they perform for cancer patients and their families. As a string trio, they also volunteer, performing at various Ronald McDonald’s Houses in the Chicagoland area. Jennifer studies with Desiree Ruhstrat at the Music Institute of Chicago, where she is a merit scholar recipient. She is a freshman attending Neuqua Valley High School and currently resides in Naperville, IL with her parents, sister, and dog.


Joy of Ong-He-Ya by Misook Kim
Violin Concerto in A minor Op. 82 by Alexander Glazunov
Jota Navarra by Pablo de Sarasate
Hot Canary by Paul Nero (listen above)

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