2015 Student Spotlights

October, 2015

Our inaugural MusicLink Student Spotlight is on Alastair Witherspoon. He described the impact music and the MusicLink Foundation has had on his life thus far:

My musical life up to this point has been a very exciting one. I have had the honor of visiting so many places to perform and to work alongside marvelous musicians, from orchestral performers to soloists. I started my story with music on the viola. At the age of 6 I loved the idea of one day playing with an orchestra or being a famous musician and traveling the world. Of course, being the parents of a six year old, my mom and dad didn't take that all too seriously. After months and months of pestering and persistence they finally gave in, I could choose an instrument and they would find me lessons; and so began what has now been a nearly 13-year-long journey with music.

My first teacher was really an inspiration for me (when I was little and still to this day). His enthusiasm and passion for music are truly unmatched. This teacher was David France, a wonderfully kind, generous and genuine person and musician. Looking at the work he has done through music, and all he has given (and continues to give to young people and aspiring musicians) anyone can respect him. It wasn't long though before he moved away and introduced me to another wonderful teacher, Aaron Janse, who along with helping me to build a solid technique and foundation as a musician (I wouldn't be where I am today without him), encouraging me to take up the violin (which has now become my instrument of study) and helping me to meet, play with and listen to the top performers of today; also introduced me to MusicLink.

MusicLink has changed my life. Because of all the support and scholarships MusicLink has so kindly given me, I have had some of the most amazing opportunities -- from being able to attend fantastic music camps and summer classes, to traveling to give concerts and finding new instruments to help my growth. Through one of these camps I met three of the most influential musicians in my life, Bruce Coppock, Lucia May, and my current teacher Sally O'Reilly. I am so grateful for the amazing support I have received from MusicLink.

This summer I had the pleasure to join the Arcata, Kammermusic Orchester Stuttgart in a performance at the music festival in Obertsdorf. I then was able to study violin in the Pienza Music Festival for two weeks in the beautiful Tuscany. The path that I am on now feels like a dream! This fall I began my undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities studying violin performance. From taking PSEO classes I plan to finish my degree early, in only 2-3 years. I don't get know where my life will lead me but one thing is for sure, music will be a big part of that.