Coltman Competition Coordinator
Violinist Sonja Larson began teaching at age 17, and quickly grew to love the process of helping students develop their musicality. This discovery led her to earn a Master of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, where she studied violin performance and pedagogy with Ms. Sally O’Reilly, author of the acclaimed Fiddle Rhythms and Fiddle Magic method books. Sonja’s students, aged 4 to 85, have played numerous recitals in their local community halls, churches and living rooms, and some have passed auditions into the Minnesota Youth Symphony and MacPhail Center for the Arts summer string camps. Because she believes that a healthy body is part of the foundation for optimal playing, Sonja uses mental practice, posture and visualization techniques to tailor an injury-preventative approach for each of her students.
In addition to her role as a teacher, Sonja is a seasoned professional violinist and has performed in numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles in Minnesota and New England, often as section leader or concertmaster. Highlights include the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Boston Ballet, Masterworks Chorale, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, National Lyric Opera and the Orchestra of Indian Hill. She has accompanied Itzhak Perlman, Anne Akiko-Meyers, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Deep Purple. She also plays and composes non-classical music, and has toured the United States and Europe with the atmospheric art-rock band A Whisper in the Noise.
Always in pursuit of a deeper understanding of her instrument, Sonja loves to study the history and origins of the violin and its relatives in other musical cultures. She believes that the violin is capable of playing any style of music, and looks for ways to incorporate other cultures’ traditions into her own personal playing and teaching style. She also attends as many concerts and shows as she can, loves a good trip to the farmer’s market, and wishes it were possible to go camping every weekend.