On Saturday’s live broadcast, we welcome back 18-year-old violinist Joshua Brown of Gurnee, Illinois to the program. Joshua Brown received glowing reviews for his debut performance with the Cleveland Orchestra at the age of 15. “Had he played from behind a curtain, you wouldn’t have believed that Joshua Brown…was only 15,” wrote clevelandclassical.com. “His interpretation of Dmitri Shostakovich’s first violin concerto was so maturely wrought that it might have come from a seasoned professional. Brilliantly played and expertly paced, Brown’s performance checked into every emotional corner of [the] work … Brown was spellbinding throughout his entire time on stage.”
A recipient of the Stradivari Society of Chicago since 2016, Joshua plays on a 1679 Pietro Guarneri violin from Cremona. Joshua has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Carnegie Hall in New York City, Severence Hall in Cleveland, Ohio, Symphony Center in Chicago, and Arnold Katz State Concert Hall in Novosibirsk, Russia; has made solo appearances on NPR’s nationally syndicated program From the Top and on WFMT’s Introductions; and has been featured on WFMT, WNIU, WCLV, ElmhurstTV, and Fox5DC. Since his debut with the Cleveland Orchestra, Joshua has performed regularly with other orchestras and has garnered continued praise from critics The Chicago Classical Review stated, “…his lithe playing betrays a musical maturity beyond his 17 years……the young man played with great poise and a silken tone……and is clearly someone to watch in years to come,” and The News-Gazette said, “The highlight of the evening was young Joshua Brown’s solo playing in Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons.’ Brown is clearly a young performer of considerable promise. His sparkling playing in the Vivaldi ….. gave renewed joy to this often heard composition.”
In addition to winning First Prize in dozens of regional and national competitions, Joshua has been a top prize winner in many international competitions. He was awarded both Second Place and the Audience Award at the 2015 Cooper International Violin Competition in Ohio. Joshua received multiple awards at the 2015 IX International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians held in Novosibirsk, Russia, taking home the Audience Award, Special Prize, the Academy of Arts Golden Medal, and the Siberian Academy of Arts Talent Award. Joshua was also a top prize winner in the 2016 Stradivarius International Violin Competition in Salt Lake City, Utah, was awarded the Grand Prize for Violin in the 2016 ENKOR International Music Competition, and was named the 2016/2017 American Prize Winner for Instrumental Performance. He was also a National YoungArts Winner in both 2016 and 2017.
Recently, Joshua was awarded First Prize in the 2018 National Federation of Music Club’s Stillman-Kelly Competition (winning both the state and national level), and he was named a 2018 Yamaha Young Performing Artist, the youngest and only pre-college winner for 2018, as well as the only violinist to receive that distinction since 2014. Additionally, as part of Kairos String Quartet, Joshua won the Gold Medal in the Junior Division of the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Competition and First Prize in the Junior String Division of the 2018 M-Prize International Chamber Arts Competition, making Kairos the first chamber group ever to win the top prizes at both Fischoff and M-Prize in the same year.
For the past five years, Joshua has studied violin with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago’s (MIC) Academy, a training program for advanced pre-college musicians. His scholarships include the MIC Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Fellowship, the North Shore Chamber Music Festival’s Haag/Galvin Young Artist and Arkady Fomin Scholarship, the American Opera Society of Chicago’s Eleanor Pearce Sherwin Scholarship, the Highland Park Music Club Scholarship, the Luminarts Cultural Foundation at the Union League Club of Chicago Scholarship, the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra’s International Rotary Scholarship, and the MIC Rachel Barton Pine Scholarship. Joshua will attend New England Conservatory of Music on a full Deans Scholarship to study with Donald Weilerstein this fall.