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Spotlight on Student Member: Aidyn Ellis-Otovo

November 28, 2023

The following is an edited version of Christine Kharazian’s interview with student member Aidyn Ellis-Otovo:

1. I know you were very young when you started to play music. Do you remember your first encounter with the violin?

I don’t exactly remember my first encounter with the violin because I was pretty young. However, one of my first violin playing memories is coming home after purchasing my first instrument. I was four or five years old and played it horrendously. I didn’t know how to hold it, how to use my bow, or anything really. My parents don’t play strings and couldn’t help at all. I just remember playing random out-of-tune notes with a huge smile on my face. I was ecstatic! I just knew I was going to love playing this Instrument!

2. You have quite an extensive experience in solo and chamber music. These two types of music making are so different, they require different mindset, and set of skills. Which one is your favorite and why?

I enjoy playing both chamber and solo music. But, chamber music holds a special place in my heart because I love the way chamber music combines solo and ensemble skills. I also appreciate how it’s easier to connect with the piece I’m playing and my chamber mates because it’s a smaller group. It’s really a chance to experience the music in a deeper, more meaningful way.

3. I am curious to learn more about your YouTube channel. What is it about, how did you start it?

My YouTube channel is dedicated to digital animation. I create animation set to pop music. My current channel is a revamp of my first channel which featured a variety of dancing toys. The first channel was really fun to create, but I eventually grew out of that phase. Now, my animation allows me to be just as creative. What’s funny is that my appreciation for popular music is limited to my video production. My genre of choice for listening and playing is strictly classical with this exception.

4. What are your musical goals?

My ultimate musical goal is to become a soloist. However, my five-year goal is to be admitted to a top conservatory to study violin performance. In order to make this goal a reality, I have shorter term aspirations of earning placements in respected summer intensive and pre-conservatory study programs. Access to top-tier programs isn’t a given for even the most dedicated students. So, I am very grateful for each opportunity I have to perform and learn from those with more experience.

5. Tell us about your collaborations with your sister. Is it fun to have another string player in the family?

My sister, Addison, and I play in the same orchestra at Peabody Prep and play in two chamber groups. It’s great having another string player in the family. We have a lot of fun together and help each other grow musically. Sometimes things get competitive. But, overall, we just have a great time. Also, an added bonus is being able to share knowledge. For example, I attended Luzerne Music Center this summer and Addison attended Meadowmount. In the end, it’s almost like we each attended both camps. We shared information from our experiences to help each other advance. It really helps to have a sibling who has similar goals.

6. What projects have you done through FMMC and what does the membership mean to you?

My FMMC participation has included an outreach recital at the Friendship Heights Community Center and a masterclass with Nadir Khashimov. This membership gives me the opportunity to perform and have masterclasses with some of the best musicians in the area, including student competition winners and esteemed professionals. It also gives me an opportunity to share my passion with others. For me, this membership is invaluable.