Meet Upper School Violinist Maddie S. ’26

On May 21, Maddie S. ’26 will perform the first movement of a piece called “Lalo Symphonie Espagnole” as a soloist with the Glendale Youth Orchestra. The opportunity arose because she won their 2023 Concerto Competition. Maddie started playing violin at the age of six. She has been honored with first prize at Southwest Youth Music Festival, Satori String Competition, Southwest Bach Festival, and the Young Muse International competition. Maddie performed solo at the Lincoln Center at age 8, at Carnegie Hall at age 10, and at Kaufman Center in New York City at age 15. She is currently a second-year member of the Glendale Youth Orchestra and actively performs at local convalescent centers and senior homes regularly. Read on to learn more about her.
What sparked your interest in music and violin?
A fancy bow whip and the purple jewels on her dress sparkling on stage during her performance of the Beethoven Sonata; at that moment, I picked her: my teacher and my instrument. I was six years old, sitting on the couch with my mom, holding an iPhone 5, when she came across this video that caused my legs to swing with the rhythm, my heart pumping with excitement from the increasing tempo and the suspenseful crescendo. That is when I fell in love with the magnificently elegant yet grand aura of the violin. And that is also when I asked my mother to let me take violin lessons from my current teacher, who had set a flame in me and inspired my love for music 10 years ago.
What has the preparation been like leading up to this performance?
In preparation for a solo performance with an orchestra, I won another competition with this piece and performed with a pianist at the Kauffman Center in New York. But playing together with an orchestra is very different. Currently, I am rehearsing with the orchestra every weekend to prepare for the performance on May 21. I have also been working on little sections of the piece during the week with my teacher, so I can stitch it together with the orchestra during the weekend rehearsals, which has been such a fun and amazing experience. Although it gets stressful when I have tests during the week, and it is hard to fit in the time to practice, somehow I pulled through it.  
How has Poly supported your interest in music?
I was part of the Poly Pit Orchestra this year for the first time, and it was a great learning experience because I had never been in or part of the pit before. It was also fun to meet peers who appreciate music as much as I do. 
How do you hope to continue your music practice in the future?
I hope to continue to put in my best effort and keep competing and playing beautiful music that touches people in many ways.  
Tickets for Maddie’s performance are $18 and may be purchased from the Alex Theatre’s box office. Students, children, and seniors may purchase tickets for $16 each. The Alex Theatre is located at 216 North Brand Blvd. For more information, visit