Interview with Liam Mansfield, FAYM College Scholarship Recipient

Liam Mansfield is an alumnus of the Las Vegas Academy. He has been playing violin for 10 years and is currently studying for a Bachelor of Music Performance in Violin at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

Why did you chose to play violin?
I am not sure, but I had always wanted to play the violin. Ever since I was young I had felt a calling towards the instrument.

What music camps did you go to in high school?
Early in my high school career I attended Meadowmount School of Music in Westbrook, New York. This camp was essentially bootcamp for practicing. I also participated in Center Stage Strings and the National Youth Orchestra of America.

When did you know that you wanted to do music for a career?
When I was in eighth grade I saw one of my favorite violinists, Leonidas Kavakos, play the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic and at the end the first movement, in which he received a standing ovation, I knew that I wanted to follow this career path. He brought the roof down.

Describe a life experience that was made possible because of music.
I have met a lot of my closest friends through music and I will always be grateful for that. I have also been able to travel a lot because of it. Traveling is part of the reasons that attracted me to this profession.

Do you have a favorite pop tune you like to play on your instrument?
Well it’s not a pop tune, but it is something that isn’t classical. It’s a jazz piece called “The Girl From Ipanema” by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz.

Do you have a name for your instrument?

Who is the most famous conductor that you have played under?
I have played under David Robertson at Carnegie Hall and at different concert halls around the country when I was touring with the National Youth Orchestra of America.

Who is your favorite orchestra?
The Royal Concertgebouw

Who is your role model/mentor?
My professor Alexander Kerr. He is one of the most expressive, versatile violinist I have ever heard. He has the juiciest sound and is one of the best people that I know.

Do you have any pets? What do they do while you practice?
I have a dog named Wawel (pronounced vavel). He will come and sit on my bed while I practice.

If you didn’t play violin, what instrument would you play?
I have always wanted to play jazz saxophone,

What is your favorite classical piece to play?
Richard Strauss’ Alpinesymphonie. I was able to play this piece this past school year in my orchestra at school.

What are your musical highlights from this past year at college?
Playing Alpine Symphony with Carl Sinclair and Bartok’s Miraculous Mandarin with Franz Welser- Most, who is the conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra.

How is playing in college different than playing in middle and high school?
When you play at the collegiate level the orchestra experience becomes more like chamber music. The standards and artistry are raised exponentially compared to high school. It is a lot more artistically gratifying.

How many hours a week did you practice in high school? How is practicing different now?
In high school I practiced three to four hours a day and now I practice between 2-6 hours. It is different now because my schedule changes day to day and week to week. To accommodate for the changing schedule I have to plan my practice time ahead of time and stick to a strict schedule.

Why did you decide to study music in college?
I decided to study music in college because I wanted to be a professional violinist and the only way to achieve my goal was to get into the best school that I can and continue working towards my goal.

How many hours do you spend playing your instrument?
About 30 hours on an average week.

Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
I would like to be In the middle of a string section in a great orchestra in Europe and teaching at a university with my own studio.

If you could go back in time to your middle school years, what would you tell yourself?
Work hard because it will all pay off eventually and every hour you practice is a deposit in the bank for the future.

How had FAYM helped you?
FAYM has allowed me to treat my education as seriously as I could. I would have had to get a part time job to afford my school, and that would have taken away from my time that I have available now because of the scholarship.


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