2014-04-25 / People

Violinist accepted into Juilliard School

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

Nash Ryder, a senior at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio and resident of Arundel, was accepted to The Juilliard School earlier this month for violin performance. 
(Courtesy photo) Nash Ryder, a senior at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio and resident of Arundel, was accepted to The Juilliard School earlier this month for violin performance. (Courtesy photo) ARUNDEL — Nash Ryder, Arundel resident and senior at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio, was recently accepted into the Violin Performance program at The Juilliard School in New York City.

Ryder, 18, has lived in Arundel for four years, and has been playing violin for more than a decade, since he was 7. His parents initially paid for piano lessons, but after a year, Ryder switched to violin.

“It’s one of those things where I didn’t start out on the violin saying, ‘This is what I want to do, this is what I want to be,’” Ryder said.

His younger brother attends middle school at Thornton Academy in Saco and plays the French Horn, but aside from that, Ryder said, “Right now there aren’t any other musicians in my family; however, my great grandfather was a clarinetist. He played for a lot of the big jazz greats, Duke Ellington, and others as well.”

It took Ryder a few years before he discerned that the violin was his true passion. At that point, “I said, ‘This is really something I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s defi- nitely my calling.’ At that point I really focused. I practiced more. I really wanted to be the best I could be. Everything kind of started from there.”

Juilliard, arguably the most respected visual and performing art schools in the country, has an acceptance rate of about 8 percent, hence Ryder knew admittance would be tough.

He applied to a handful of musical conservatories across the country, but he was secretly holding out for Juilliard.

“Juilliard had sort of always been my dream school. That’s kind of where I’d been working toward and that’s where I wanted to go,” Ryder said.

He received his letter of acceptance two weeks ago. “Honestly, up until the moment I heard, I didn’t really know what to expect, because music is so incredibly competitive. There are people with all sorts of different backgrounds, different styles, skill levels and ages.

“Music can be a very subjective thing, as well. I kept telling myself that, I guess, as I was waiting to hear back. There were so many factors to count and consider.”

Ryder said that ever since he realized he might want to pursue a career as a musician, his parents have been unendingly encouraging.

“They were always so very supportive,” he said. “They worked hard to find me wonderful teachers, which are always essential, particularly in music. Of course, I couldn’t have done anything without them.”

On a typical day, four to five hours are devoted to practicing, Ryder said.

“There are always times when it can be a little grueling, of course,” he said. “But even through those times I always enjoy it. I love what I do. I feel very fortunate to do what I do. I think, for the most part, it’s been a really incredible adventure.”

Other interests of Ryder’s include reading historical fiction and nonfiction and French culture.

“I’m a huge fan of everything French – a huge Francophile,” he said. “I love the language, the culture, the art, everything.” Second only to mastering the violin, Ryder said, is becoming fluent in French.

Ryder said in reference to professional options for a violinist, “As a musician you have to keep your mind open. Again it’s such an incredibly competitive thing.

“I could see myself being an orchestral musician, like with the New York Philharmonic or the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Maybe, I guess the highest rank you could achieve would be soloist or a part of a string quartet. It’s just important to keep your mind open and just focus.

“Right now I’m focusing on the best I can be, and working on perfecting my art.”

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