You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Local teen selected to national youth orchestra

Kenton Ridge senior who practices six hours daily is named music ambassador.


Mariko Shimasaki isn’t going to dissuade people from calling her and her older sister, Kanako, prodigies.

“You can call us prodigies. It’s a nice compliment,” said Mariko, a senior at Kenton Ridge High School who’s been mastering the violin since age 5.

“We’re not exactly prodigies,” she clarified. “We just learned to make an effort.”

All that hard work has led to Mariko, 17, earning a title that can’t be disputed — musical ambassador of the United States.

The local teen has won a spot in the violin section of the inaugural National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.

Assembled by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, the orchestra will spread musical goodwill this summer on a tour to Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia and then to London. According to the Carnegie Hall website, the orchestra will be made up of “120 of the brightest young players from across the country.”

“I’m very honored to be in the first one,” Mariko said.

The orchestra will be under the baton of Grammy-winning conductor Valery Gergiev, and will feature Grammy-winning violinist Joshua Bell on Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto,” “which is my favorite piece,” she said.

“Everything is coming together,” she added, “and it’s amazing.”

Mariko, who’s taken first place in concerto competitions hosted by the Columbus Symphony and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, isn’t your typical KR student.

“I gave up things like prom and homecoming so I could practice,” she explained.

Her daily routine includes six hours of practice.

“I just put off my homework until the end of the night,” she confessed, “even if it means I’m finishing my homework at 3 a.m.”

Mariko also takes a rigorous amount of pre-college coursework through the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where her sister is now a full-time student.

Kanako, who began playing violin at age 4, will return home next January to perform Ravel’s “Tzigane” with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

They are, however, your typical sisters.

“There’s competition all the time,” Mariko said. “Since she’s older, she thinks she knows more than me.”

Their parents, longtime Springfield residents Koshin and Noriko Shimasaki, got them violins at such an early age to instill discipline in them. Neither parent is a musician.

“We learned together,” said Noriko Shimasaki, the girls’ mother, who hails originally from Kyoto, Japan.

“I don’t imagine a life without the violin,” Mariko said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Ohio unemployment rate increases in February
Ohio unemployment rate increases in February

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in February, up from 5 percent in January, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported today. Ohio’s employers added 15,200 jobs over the month, from a revised 5,506,800 in January to 5,522,000 in February. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in February was 294,000, up 7,000 from...
Cop turns table on IRS scammer
Cop turns table on IRS scammer

With less than a month left in tax season, Americans may be getting those phone calls that claim that the IRS will have a an arrest warrant issued. It’s all a scam, and the callers tried to scam the wrong person this time. Kyle Roder received a call from the “IRS” that threatened that he’d be arrested if he didn’t...
2-year-old with rare disease becomes honorary police officer in NJ
2-year-old with rare disease becomes honorary police officer in NJ

A 2-year-old with a rare genetic disease became the youngest police officer in New Jersey, WABC reported. >> Read more trending news Trent Powers is battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and on Wednesday he became an honorary member of the Spotswood Police Department.  Powers was all smiles as he received his own uniform and...
Dayton innovators: Men search for a medical breakthrough for children
Dayton innovators: Men search for a medical breakthrough for children

Tyson Ross, an electrical engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and Casel Burnett, a Miamisburg native who now works as a general manager for Toyota in Kentucky, have been engaged in “a labor of love” since 2008. That labor has resulted in a pair of patents, a new company that doesn’t yet have offices — and the promise...
Scientists develop blood test to detect, find cancer
Scientists develop blood test to detect, find cancer

Scientists at the University of California may have just made the next breakthrough in the battle against cancer. A test called CancerLocator works by looking for DNA released from tumors and circulates in the blood, The Telegraph reported. >> Read more trending news And the test doesn’t just find cancer, it can also tell doctors where...
More Stories