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Katie Liu, 13, attends Stoller Middle School and is representing Beaverton on a big virtual stage.

A Beaverton student and violinist is getting some top-notch advice from the Philadelphia Orchestra after a virtual performance. COURTESY PHOTO - Katie Liu

On Thursday, March 25, 13-year-old Katie Liu performed in the Philadelphia International Music Festival's new PIMFonline.org master class. As part of the program, student musicians from around the world perform in a virtual master class, designed specifically for music students, parents and teachers.

The class was taught by Dara Morales, the assistant principal of second violin of the Philadelphia Orchestetra.

After auditioning, Liu was one of three students to perform in the master class. Liu says she was excited to perform for others, considering there have been no performances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I was really nervous since it was the first time I was going to perform for a big audience," said Liu, who attends Stoller Middle School in Beaverton. "Once I started playing, I wasn't nervous anymore."

Liu played the first movement of Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op 61, for Morales and a worldwide online audience. She spent about two hours every day practicing for the performance.

She says it was great to receive feedback from Morales and others during the interactive live class.

"(Morales) gave me some tips on how to practice more efficiently, like how to practice difficult passages," explained Liu.

She added, "It was also great performing again, because I really enjoyed this piece. It was a memorable experience."

The orchestra says that the piece Liu performed showcases a violinists' technical prowess.

"We've been seeing some very high-caliber young musical talent submitting extraordinary auditions," said the Philadelphia International Music Festival's president, Sandy Marcucci. "We're delighted by the enthusiasm and so heartened to see how young musicians are pursuing their musical passion with a will to learn and improve in spite of so much disruption."

The virtual performance was a taste of what life was before the pandemic for Liu. She vaguely remembers her last in-person performance before she was forced to only practice at home.

Liu says being a part of the Portland Youth Philharmonic has helped her get through the tough times.

"I'm really grateful for PYP because during quarantine, we still have rehearsals on Zoom," she said. "Even though we can't play like at the same time, I really appreciate them still making the effort. Now, on Zoom, we play separately to work on our parts and then after that we record it, and they have editors put videos together like a concert."

She's also excited to resume with the PYP in-person next fall.

"I really hope we'll have a live audience soon as well," Liu said. "That way they can come back and watch us perform."

Until then, Liu is happy to perform in front of online audiences around the world.


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