This Orem violinist and composer has conquered Carnegie Hall and Tchaikovsky but considers herself “just a normal kid.”
At first glance, 13-year-old Aubree Oliverson might seem like an ordinary girl. She’s on the swim team, runs track, enjoys reading, shopping and hanging out with her girlfriends—but that’s where similarities end.
She and her father, Stephen, a pianist, just released their third CD called “Dance of the Fireflies,” which Aubree describes as “neoclassical with a new-ageish twist,” under the name Moon Light. The petite violinist has also spent more time in the spotlight than most accomplished adult musicians, gracing the prestigious Carnegie Hall stage and logging more than 100 performances in 2010 alone. “I just love performing,” says Aubree, a wisp of a blonde who at once exudes a mature poise and bubbly, girlish demeanor. “I don’t get nervous very often when I’m performing. With an audience, they’re there to enjoy, and I just want to touch them and make them feel happy.”
Aubree began piano lessons when she was just four years old and played for a few years before her dad brought home a violin “on a whim,” she says. “My mom said, ‘Well, I guess we need to find a teacher.’” Violin struck a chord. “I was all right at the piano, but then I started the violin, and it just clicked. You can express more on the violin than on the piano, and that was one of the things that got me.”
Most recently Aubree soloed with the Utah Symphony, performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, considered among the most technically difficult works for the violin. Performing it is one of the crowning achievements in a violinist’s career. “That was awesome. There’s just something about performing with a symphony that I can’t get enough of,” Aubree says as though she were gushing over a cute boy or the latest Twilight movie. “I just love having the orchestra behind me and the conductor watching me.”
Aubree has been recognized three times as a state and national winner for composition—her style spans chamber works, solo violin pieces, piano solos and duets—and earned a comparison to a “modern Mozart” by Tootlee.com, an online forum devoted to showcasing children with extraordinary talents. The New York Arts Ensemble twice named her a “composer of great promise.” She soloed at Carnegie Hall in 2010 following a win in the Utah division at the Stradivarius International Competition—and received a standing ovation. “I want to touch as many people as possible with my music,” she explains.
Katy Perry's "Firework" by David Osmond, Aubree Oliverson, Nathaniel Drew and Salt Lake Pops Orchestra
Practice makes perfect: Aubree practices 5–6 hours daily and up to 11 hours a day when preparing for a competition
Favorite piece: Dvorak Violin Concerto
Favorite violins: A French-made violin she used for her last Utah Symphony performance; she also loved the 1721 Guarneri del Gesù violin she used on her most recent CD album release “Dance of the Fireflies.”
Words of Wisdom
“Keep going if you love what you’re doing, and try to do your best. Everything will work out.”