Posted May 10, 2017

Next stop: Master’s in violin performance at Boyer

Watch the video to hear senior Samuel Nebyu play the violin and to see just how fast his fingers can move. 

Video Production: Gina Benigno and Louis Peluyera

When Samuel Nebyu was 6, he saw an image of a violin at an exhibit in Brussels, where he moved with his mother after living the first five years of his life in Beijing.

His mother asked if he knew what it was, but he didn’t. Something about the instrument—its small but mighty presence, its wooden curves, its delicate strings—stuck with Nebyu. In that moment, he knew that he wanted to find out what it was he saw in the image and make it his own.

After taking private lessons, he quickly realized that playing the violin is what he wanted to do with his life. He dedicated his time to practicing, participating in international competitions and taking summer classes, like the course he took in the summer of 2012 in Salzburg, Austria where he met Eduard Schmieder, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Violin at the Boyer College of Music and Dance.

“My friend told me that [Schmieder] was a really good teacher, so I went to see him,” Neybu said. “He told me I should come to Temple to study with him. When I met him, I thought it was the only thing I could do that would be right for me.”

And to this day, Nebyu believes coming to Temple and to Philadelphia was one of the best decisions he has ever made.

“I thought that maybe I would go to Vienna to study music, but if I studied there, my life would be very different,” Nebyu said. “I thought Vienna was the center of the world musically. And maybe traditionally from the past it is, but it is not as active as the U.S. or even just Philadelphia.”

In his second semester, Nebyu traveled to Romania for a competition and walked away with first prize. That was just the beginning of a college career packed with competitions and performances, from taking the stage at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts to being the only violinist to play at the final gala of the famed Mozarteum Salzburger Festspiele in Salzburg.

What’s next for Nebyu? He will continue studying with Schmieder to earn his master’s degree in violin performance.

“I could see myself passing down knowledge to students, just like Dr. Schmeider,” Nebyu said.