Berklee Student Launches String Showcase and Electric Violin Giveaway

By 
Liz Burg
October 20, 2010
Jakub Trasak gets ready to play at Cafe 939.
Jakub Trasak practices inside Cafe 939.
Jakub Trasak plays the violin.
Jakub Trasak and Mark O'Connor play on stage during O'Connor's residence at Berklee.
Photo Phil Farnsworth
Photo Phil Farnsworth
Photo courtesy Jakub Trasak
Photo Phil Farnsworth

Jakub Trasak, a seventh semester violin performance student at Berklee College of Music, is bringing the school's String Department into the spotlight with the first-ever String Showcase to be held at the Berklee Performance Center on November 4, at 8:15 p.m. One lucky audience member will win a Yamaha electric violin. The concert—a series of performances by small ensembles—will highlight the wide vocabulary of Berklee's string students. The groups will present a range of styles, from bluegrass, Americana, chambergrass and Irish to jazz, r&b, Latin, and swing. Close to 50 students playing violins, violas, cellos, mandolins, banjos, and harps will share the stage. For more information, visit stringshowcase.com.

Trasak, a seasoned musician who grew up as a rare bluegrass and country aficionado in the traditionally classically-focused Prague music scene, came up with the idea for the String Showcase after realizing he had performed in a variety of other Berklee departments' showcase concerts but had never had the chance to bring the unique talents of Berklee's string players into focus. The department, which includes about 150 students, instills in students a sophisticated virtuosity, intense creativity, and broad stylistic vocabulary, which are invaluable to a career in contemporary music. Berklee's String Department is growing rapidly with a particular insurgence of Americana and bluegrass students over the past three years; in fact, the department created a focused area of study in American Roots Music in 2010 to cater to students who play traditionally North American instruments. In order to spark excitement among the string lovers in the area, Trasak orchestrated a partnership with Johnson String and Yamaha to give away a free electric violin to one audience member during the concert.

"Bringing not only many different styles, but also musicians from around the globe, together on one stage is, for me, a dream come true," said Trasak on what excites him the most about the upcoming concert.

The first ever String Showcase will be held at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, on November 4 at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com.