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Salt Lake City violin virtuoso wins nationwide competition

Providence Doucet

A 17-year-old violin virtuoso from Salt Lake City is making headlines after recently winning an international music competition.

Taking top prize at the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition in North Carolina, Ezekiel Sokoloff, who goes by Zeke, beat out older students all across the nation. Many of his competitors are students at some of the top music academies across the United States.

Dr. Eugene Watanabe, Sokoloff’s instructor, says that the boy is very talented and more importantly, works hard to achieve his goals. Sokoloff is one of 100 students at Salt Lake City’s Gifted Music School Conservatory under Watanabe’s guidance, who works to make sure students know how to use their practice time and helps them develop technique building, music building, and repertoire building.

Since he was just five-years-old, Sokoloff has been playing the violin using the Suzuki method, saying his mother, Jonah, introduced him to the instrument. Jonah also played violin as a high school student but says that her son’s skills have surpassed her ability to coach him. Thus, Watanabe has been guiding Sokoloff since he was about fifteen-years-old.

Sokoloff, who has performed with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, says he gets nervous before each performance, but maintains the confidence in his poise and focus to help him perform. Moving forward, Sokoloff hopes to play with a major symphony orchestra, but first, he’s deciding on what music conservatory to attend after high school.

Jared Gereau is pursuing a Journalism major with an emphasis in Social Media at Utah State University. He is planning on using his experience to pursue a career with USU Athletics sometime after he graduates. In his free time, Jared enjoys watching movies, playing games and creating content for his YouTube channel.