Aliya Klein, Young Artist of America, Viola

Meet Aliya Klein! She's a senior at Churchill High School and is playing the viola in our upcoming fall production of YAA Presents: The Sound of Music in Concert on October 29th at The Clarice. Learn more about her, how she prepares for the performance and why she thinks YAA is like the von Trapp family!

What do you think about the music? Is it challenging? What do you love? What do you not like? : I love The Sound Of Music. I have watched this movie over and over ever since I was little, ingraining the lyrics of the songs into my head throughout my whole childhood. It has been so great to have the opportunity to play this music, something very close to my heart, for the community and for my friends and family. The music is challenging at parts, but has been so worth the effort to learn it. I love that this is music not brand new to me, because it allows me the chance to pay much closer attention to my musicality and interpretation of the various pieces, and has changed the way that I view The Sound of Music as a whole. While it is not always the most exciting thing to be playing the offbeats or the accidentals, I would take that any day over not being able to perform in a show like this one.

How is YAA helping you prepare?: Young Artists of America is a truly community oriented organization, and it is always emphasized that we are a family. Throughout this season I've sort of compared the "YAA family" to the von Trapp family in The Sound of Music -- made up of individuals of all ages with unique backgrounds, personalities, and interests, all coming together to create beautiful music. This comparison has made me much more eager to put my best foot forward, inspiring me to have the bravery of the von Trapp family in all of my adventures, and really solidifying my identity as a musician among a group of other talented artists. Without YAA's consistent dedication to making us feel valuable and at home in an orchestra, I would not be the same courageous person.

What are you most looking forward to when you get on the stage?: The performance is endgame! I won't get the chance to play this music again, at least not for a very long time, so it's the last opportunity to really express it the way I want to. A performance should be for the community, and for the audience to enjoy, but it is just as much for us as it is for them. We have spent weeks working hard to prepare this, and finally we are at the point where we can confidently walk on the stage and play all of what we worked toward. When I get on stage, I make sure I remind myself of this, because it's more important then than ever to perform at my utmost potential, give people a show worth watching, and give myself something I can feel proud of.

What's your favorite thing about performing?: Many people find performing to be nerve-wracking, but I always find the pressure of it to be really exhilarating. I may not always play perfectly in a performance, but it doesn't matter, because that's not what it's about. Performing is the one chance we have, after all of our rehearsals, to show what we're made of. I don't think about trying to impress people, and by not setting that as an expectation, every time we get standing ovations or roaring applause, it is a wonderfully fulfilling feeling. My favorite thing is hearing all of this applause, because it reinforces all of our hard work.

What are you thinking about when you're performing? : My mind generally goes blank. It's not as much of a good experience if my mind wanders throughout performing -- in my opinion, it's much better to live through every note played, and even more importantly, breathe through every silent moment. Playing and listening music is supposed to be therapeutic, cathartic, and overall enlightening. All I can think about when performing is this, and how important it is for me to take every note played as a chance to experience something uniquely beautiful.

Tell us something surprising about you.: I'm a purebred violist! Most people who play viola began on violin and were asked to switch, or started off on some other instrument. I knew from the moment I heard the sound of a viola when I was 8 that that was the instrument I wanted to play. I know we are often the subject of most jokes, and are often forgotten, but I could not be more proud to have chosen and stayed with the viola. It changed my appreciation for string instruments into a love that has only grown, and now, I am even teaching myself how to play the ukulele!

Watch Aliya play on Sunday, October 29th! Get tickets here