Irvine freshman plays a Stradivarius with the Nuremberg Symphony

Kevin Miura
Kevin Miura

Irvine freshman plays a Stradivarius with the Nuremberg Symphony
Kevin Miura, 14, a freshman at Northwood High School, is an avid reader, birdwatcher and musical prodigy who performs around the world — with a Stradivarius.

Describe the violin you play.

I play on a 1713 Antonio Stradivari violin.

Where have you performed?

I’ve soloed with the Orpheus Sinfonia in London, L.A. Chamber Orchestra, several orchestras in Ohio and California, and at great venues like Carnegie Hall, the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Hollywood Bowl and in Japan. Over Christmas, I soloed with the Nuremberg Symphony at Meistersinger Hall.

When did you start playing?

When I was 5 years old, two students came to perform at my preschool, and afterward, I said to my mom, “I want to do that!” At the time, I didn’t even know what a violin was.

How much do you practice?

Between three to four hours on weekdays (especially since I have school and homework, among other things) but I make up for it on weekends.

Do you ever get tired of practicing?

I think practicing can be a drag, but I’ll tell myself to focus for 30 minutes, and usually, by the time those 30 minutes have gone by, I want to work on something to make it sound better.

Did Irvine’s “Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund” help you?

I feel like a direct beneficiary of the program. In elementary school, I participated in the science fair and advanced to the county level with my friends. In art, we had art teachers come to school, and time dedicated to art that was free of any academic distractions. In 4th grade, everyone began to learn an instrument or joined the choir. As many districts cut funding to music, art programs and specialist staff, recognizing the importance of the arts, science, and music is essential to Irvine students’ success.

How do you deal with nerves?

I used to get so nervous that I thought I was going to throw up, but I’ve gotten pretty good at taking that “nervous” energy and translating it into excitement and focus that helps me perform better.

Besides playing violin, what do you like to do?

I enjoy reading and birdwatching. I used to build Legos competitively. I participated in the National Harry Potter Build-off when I was 8 — the other finalists were all teenagers! Through a competition at Legoland, I had the opportunity to help the Master Lego Builders set up the Star Wars exhibit. I also placed a Lego figure of myself playing in a Lego Hollywood Bowl. I even have a lifetime pass to every Legoland in the world.

So how did you get a Stradivarius?

In 2016, I participated in the Menuhin International Violin Competition (my first international competition!), where I won 2nd place and the audience award. At the formal prize ceremony, a brand-new prize was announced, for the loan of a Golden Period Stradivarius violin. Called the award for Most Outstanding Potential, it was the surprise of my life when I received it. Through the generosity of Jonathan Moulds and the Beare’s International Violin Society, I’m honored to have the fantastic opportunity to play this violin.