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'Great Works for the Violin'

Aaron Moffatt practices his violin daily from about 11 p.m. until about 2 a.m. or longer — not just to perfect his concertos for his upcoming performance but also because he loves to play.

The 20-year-old violinist will perform Great Works for the Violin No. 4 at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, at the Unitarian Center, 87 Fourth St. (at C Street), Ashland.

The performance will feature the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, the Dvorak Violin Concerto in A minor, and Sarasate's Navarra for two violins.

Ashland pianist Joseph Yungen, a Southern Oregon University student, will accompany Moffatt, and special guest violinist Trinity Tippin, a senior at Eagle Point High School, also will accompany him during the Navarra composition.

Moffatt's prior three Great Works for the Violin performances were each three concertos long. The concerts were held at Southern Oregon University and Bowmer Theater when he was 16 years old and at the Black Swan Theater when he was 17 years old.

More than 300 people attended his solo concert at the Black Swan.

Moffatt said that when he was a child, "I had nothing musical in me."

In fifth grade, he was taken along with the rest of his class at Bellview Elementary School to try out instruments in the music room. Moffatt said he especially favored the string instruments, and later asked his father to buy him a violin. After some convincing, his father eventually purchased his first violin.

"I just started playing and really enjoyed it, and they never had to tell me to practice," Moffatt said.

Although he experimented with the cello, clarinet, viola and piano, he said he preferred the violin and never felt a draw to the other instruments.

"There was something in me that said, 'violin,' " he said.

He studied for nine years with Faina Podolnaya, who was named Laureate Violin Teacher of the Year in the Soviet Union before she came to Ashland.

Moffatt said after graduating from Ashland High School that he had considered attending a music school, but after previewing several schools, decided against it.

"Music school took a lot of the fun out of it," he said.

"After a while, I was losing some of the enjoyment of playing."

He said he plays classical violin most often, but also enjoys playing bluegrass music and fiddle-style violin.

Moffatt appeared on PBS in a student showcase and on RVTV. He also participates in Podolnaya's Siskiyou Violins ensemble, which performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles.

"If I'm around the valley, I'll play in the valley or wherever I am," he said.

Tickets to Moffatt's performance at the Unitarian Center are $22, $10 for students. Tickets also are available for $20 in advance at www.aaronmoffatt.com.

Aaron Moffatt will play Mozart's Violin Concerto, No. 5, the Dvorak Violin Concerto and Sarasate’s Navarra at the Unitarian Center Friday evening. - Photo by Christopher Briscoe