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CMPI Senior Violin Fellow Nicole Kwasny | Image from Senn High Arts Twitter, June 2020

With college auditions behind her, violinist Nicole Kwasny is ready to take on the world. The Nicholas Senn High School senior recently found out she was accepted to three university music programs, DePaul, Roosevelt, and Indiana. While she has not yet decided which one she will attend, she plans on majoring in violin performance with a minor in music education and hopes to teach, play with an orchestra, and coach chamber music in the future.

Nicole says, “The beginning of the college application process was kind of stressful. With the help of CMPI and my teacher, they helped me to do my best for all the schools that I was applying to. After the initial anxieties, everything soon started to calm down. I got excited when I advanced into the next round and final rounds of auditions with the schools.”

She credits most of her success to her teacher, Davis King. “He helped me correct some bad performance habits, [including] scales, arpeggios, double stops, and technique. Davis is an inspiration and just a wonderful teacher. I enjoyed having lessons with him this past year and there is still a lot to learn before I go to college, and without Davis, I wouldn’t have nailed most of my college auditions!”

Nicole started playing the violin at age five after being inspired to play by her older sister. She’s made quite a bit of progress since those early days. This year, she performed with Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as District Orchestra through the Illinois Music Educator’s Association. She played with a trio that was featured at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library for Polish American Heritage Month (October), and participated in a string quartet. She was proud to receive the highest rating, Honor Superior, in the Illinois High School Association Solo and Small Ensemble contest.

CMPI has been extremely beneficial for Nicole. Not only did CMPI help her to purchase a new violin, bow, and case, but she was also able to perform in several masterclasses and audition workshops. Her mentor was “very helpful with talking to me about motivation, confidence, [and] guidance.”

The best tip she would like to pass along to younger students is, “when you are playing at an audition and mess up, just keep going! Even when performing, if you mess up, just keep going!” Like most, Nicole gets nervous for auditions and performances. “When I perform or audition…I get super nervous, but to control the stress, you have to fight it and not let it get to you…you also get to learn from any mistakes that were made during the experience.”

Away from music, Nicole likes to sing, hang out with friends, dance, go for runs, go on adventures, and just get out into the world. She certainly is ready to embark on the next chapter of her life: college.

Fun Facts about Nicole!

  • Favorite Animal: Bear
  • Favorite Ice Cream or Drink: She likes cappuccinos but is mostly a tea person.
  • Favorite Piece: Introduction and Tarantella by Pablo Sarasate
  • Random Fun Fact: She speaks Polish fluently!

Check out this performance from Nicole and her Trio:

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