Violinist tunes into the spotlight for one final event


Remy Wong, Staff writer

Most see it as an art form, others as simply a wooden instrument, but for concertmaster senior Jayaraman Donath, he views the violin as something to fight for. He proves his talent by receiving a superior for his performance at the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC) Solo Festival on Feb.18. 

As his 10th and last year competing, Donath entered the competition confident. He played “Veracini sonata in E minor,” second movement and “Méditation from Thaïs” in the solo category and Mozart “Violin Concerto No. 1” movement one in the concerto category. 

“During the performance, I was kind of lost in the music,” Donath said. “I’m very happy to end this era of competing in NFMC with a happy note.” 

The judges granted Donath a superior performance rating for both categories. This would also land him four golden cups. Donath had also received extra points from competing in the concerto category over the years. 

“I was trying hard not to think about anything else, just the music,” Donath said. “I was able to keep going even though I was nervous.” 

This showed his parents how dedicated and talented he was with the violin, as they were skeptical when Donath first started playing at the age of 3. Donath recalls having to ask his mom multiple times before she allowed him to play the violin. 

The first time I got really close to quitting was because of an argument with my mom over practicing. I stayed with it to show her that I wanted to [play violin] and I wouldn’t quit. I just really enjoy music and I really want to pursue it.

— Donath

Using NFMC as motivation, Donath currently practices violin every day for about 45 minutes to an hour. The moments when it gets hard to find time to practice, Donath reminds himself of why he enjoys the violin. 

“Learning to express emotions and having to create a story for each piece in order to properly express it is how I want it to feel when I play,” Donath said. “You can’t just play notes on a page; you wouldn’t achieve the same result.”

Donath has also been part of Walnut’s orchestra for all of his four years. Being the concertmaster, or first chair violinist, and the orchestra vice president in the Instrumental Music Council has taught him that he could find leadership in music. He is also part of pit orchestra for most of the school plays. 

“I have been playing violin for so long that I didn’t even consider not taking orchestra,” Donath said. “It was just automatic.”

Donath also enjoys replaying old songs as a reminder of his development as a musician. He specifically remembers playing “Hungarian Dance No. 5” for his music teacher, Armine Nerkarayan, of 11 years, from Happy Strings Studio. 

“I remember she was just so proud of me. She said it was the best she’s ever seen me play that year so I still keep that piece and play it every few months because it’s happy for me,” Donath said.

It was her influence as a mentor that pushed Donath to pursue a career in music. He wants to become a music teacher to inspire others to follow the same path as he did.

“I realized that music and teaching music is what I love doing,” Donath said. “I wanted to be able to touch others and open up my love of music to their world.”