Excerpted from “Tallahassee Symphony Violinist Eager to Connect with Audience on 4th of July” by Amanda Sieradzki, Council on Culture & Arts. Published in the Tallahassee Democrat on July 3, 2021.
Music has no borders for violinist Pedro Maia. At the age of 15, he debuted with the ArtBrasilia Symphony Orchestra and currently plays with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. While the [July 4th] concert celebrates America’s independence, it also echoes Maia’s belief that no matter the country or continent, music has the power to bring people together.
“Music is an international language,” says Maia. “People are more willing to get to know you as a person and get to know your culture because they’re interested in your music.”
Maia is pursuing his doctorate in violin performance at Florida State University and has founded two chamber groups, including Cosmos New Music ensemble. He feels connected to his friends and fellow players in both chamber groups, many of whom are international students and colleagues hailing from across the globe.
Maia began his journey in music at a young age, and at the insistence of his parents. He slowly came around to practicing the violin on his own and fell in love with the instrument in his teen years. Maia earned a full scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi, and it was during undergraduate studies he met Dr. Shannon Thomas who would become his mentor at FSU.
“The teaching I had in Brazil had a more traditional, European influence,” says Maia. “[Thomas’] way of teaching and pedagogy was totally fresh and new. She has so many ideas about how to approach a musical phrase and execution. She changed my way I looked at music and I felt super inspired every time I left her class.”
While Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Mozart and Igor Stravinsky are among Maia’s longstanding favorite composers, he is constantly seeking out fresh new, voices in the field. Maia picks up on the feelings that can live inside a composition regardless of composer and strives to make those emotions clear to the listener, whether it be passion, anger or excitement.
“It’s important because you keep music alive,” says Maia. “If all musicians do their part to promote living composers, we’ll have even greater music in the future like people did in the past. Without those musicians back in the day playing living composer’s music, we wouldn’t have composers like Beethoven today. You have to keep exploring, and with music there’s an infinity of possibilities. There’s always more to be explored.”
Maia has shared numerous performances in music halls that echo with the history of musicians from the past. Some of his most memorable performances have been at Carnegie Hall in New York City and Palazzo Ducale di Urbino in Italy. He jokes that it is hard to make a bad sound in those historic halls given the acoustics and ability to hear every musician with total clarity.
The Fourth of July concert at Tom Brown Park will be the group’s first performance for a live audience since the COVID shut-down. Maia cannot wait to connect with listeners both old and new.
“Music is a bonding experience for any community because it brings everybody together,” says Maia. “A chamber group is a small community. We have rehearsals where we have to listen to each other, respect each other’s opinion and help each other. Chamber groups and the orchestra can be seen as an example of how a community should work and potentially how a city, state or country could work.”
See full story on the Tallahassee Democrat website.