Eehjoon Kwon doesn't figure stage fright will interfere with her playing at her upcoming outdoor gig.
"I get a bit nervous, but once I play, I'm fine," said the 17-year-old violin student in the Collegium Program for Gifted Musicians at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.
Her steely nerves will certainly come in handy Sunday evening, when the Mount Douglas High School student will join the Victoria Symphony in its performance of the first movement of Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto at Symphony Splash.
The prospect of playing in front of a crowd that organizers have estimated at as many as 40,000 people is a key reason why Kwon applied for the coveted Young Soloist spot.
"Playing in front of huge crowd, it's going to be such an unforgettable memory," said the Korean-born wunderkind. "It's such a great opportunity to play in that environment."
When her conservatory violin teacher MÃ¼ge BÃ¼yÃ¼kÃ§elen told her about the program, Kwon's interest was immediately piqued.
"She told me it was the biggest competition in Victoria and then it became my ultimate goal."
Kwon, who moved to Canada in 2008, auditioned last year, but didn't win. This year she beat out 16 other applicants.
To sharpen her skills, Kwon rehearses for two to three hours per day, even during the months she's in school.
"With school, it's kind of difficult, but now it's summer so I have more time."
She holds practising music and maintaining high marks as top priorities - after all, she needs both if she is to achieve her goal of studying business and music at a bigname American university.
Though she's obviously aware of her potential, Kwon refuses to take much credit for her growing success.
She says she's grateful to BÃ¼yÃ¼kÃ§elen, conservatory instructor Michael van der Sloot and accompanist Elfi Gleusteen for nurturing her talent.
But her biggest thank-you is reserved for her mother, who once used unconventional tactics to motivate preteen Eehjoon not to give up playing the violin.
"One day she just told me I could quit, so I did for a little bit and then I realized how much I missed it," laughed Kwon.
"She hid my violin and the next day I was looking for it everywhere, and found it in her car."
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