School’s almost out for the summer, but the last thing on middle school student Aline Dumalski’s mind is time off.
As the sole finalist from Vancouver Island heading to the Canadian Music Competition at the end of the month, the Saanich-based violinist has been spending three hours on weekdays and up to six hours a day on weekends honing her craft to compete in the country’s premiere classical music competition.
“I started playing violin when I was four years old,” says Dumalski, 12. “I love performing. There’s something about getting all dressed up with the fancy dress and being in front of all those people.”
Each year, more than 200 instrumentalists and singers as young as seven challenge themselves to master technically difficult and emotionally complex pieces of music and perform them for a panel of judges.
Dumalski competed in last year’s competition in the 11 and under category, placing first amongst her peers.
This year in the 12 and under category, she tackles the second and third movements of Mendelsohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, a daunting 20-minute repertoire usually reserved for the finest professional performers. (Check it out on Youtube, you’ll be impressed.)
“Since I’ve been performing for quite a long time, you just get used to (the pressure),” says the Arbutus middle school student. “Sometimes you get nervous right before you go on stage, but you get into this state of mind when you focus on the music.”
Taking place in Sherbrooke, Que., the Canadian Music Competition also includes a 14 and under strings category, in which Dumalski was a runner-up last year against nearly 100 of her peers in violin, viola, cello and bass.
Another feather in her cap, Dumalski was accepted into the National Arts Centre’s young artists program this summer, where she’ll be mentored by some of the country’s finest musicians through a series of chamber lessons and performances.
“They let in three violinists in all of Canada, so it will be a good experience,” she says.
The Canadian Music Competition was launched in 1958 as Quebec Music Festivals, but co-founder Claude Deschamps expanded the program to other provinces and established the national competition in 1971.
This year’s event takes place June 21 to July 4. For more information, visit cmcnational.com.