East Senior Earns Two Prestigious Violin Honors Back-to-Back


Suraksha Kodgi

 In January, Brookfield East High School Senior Arisa Okamoto (12) won the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) Senior Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and was awarded finalist standing for the MSO (Madison Symphony Orchestra) Bolz Young Artist Competition. To earn the honor of the Concerto Competition winner, she competed against other strong musicians from her ensembles that play a variety of instruments.  As for the Bolz Young Artist Competition, it is a unique and highly-regarded statewide competition where young musicians compete for scholarships and the opportunity to perform as soloists with the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO). Okamoto has advanced to the semi-finals and will partake in The Final Forte which will be broadcasted on PBS Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Public Radio. 

Okamoto has been playing the violin for the past fifteen years, and expresses that music has had a huge impact on her life. 

She explains, “Music has always been a way for me to connect with new people through concerts and other performing opportunities.” As a senior she plans to continue her passion for both music as she goes on to college. She intends to double major in Music and Neuroscience, and aspires to conduct scientific research that justifies the spiritual power that music carries among people. 

With both performances fast approaching, The Final Forte on March 8th and the Senior Symphony Concert on April 30th, Okamoto has been busy preparing her solo. She describes that she typically spends a good amount of time studying the orchestra part of her solo, the Sibelius Violin Concerto, and focuses on the parts beyond her solo to better understand the piece. 

Okamoto explains, “I recently found that there is a section where I play a duet with the viola part. Looking for details really changes how I approach the piece and what story I wish to convey.” 

She’s excited to see her efforts pay off over the next two months and looks forward to performing with an orchestra in the US. She is eager to perform in the gorgeous halls of Overture Center of Arts and Marcus Performing Arts Center, for MSO and MYSO respectively, and can’t wait to meet new people at each concert. 

We wish Arisa the best of luck in her upcoming competitions. To support, tune into her performances that will be streamed on PBS, the Wisconsin Public Radio, and the MYSO website.