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How violinist Ezinma lives life on her own terms

From challenging for first chair in orchestra to challenging the status quo of classical music, Ezinma is forging her own path.

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Known for her modern take on classical pieces, violinist Ezinma has toured the world and shared the stage with artists like Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Clean Bandit, and Jorja Smith. In addition to her impressive list of collaborators, she’s also working on her second master’s degree in film composing and recently released her debut EP, Classical Bae, in April 2021.

But Ezinma’s story starts as the child of a Guyanese father and German American mother, both professors at the University of Nebraska. Growing up as a mixed race child in Lincoln, Nebraska, Ezi often felt like she didn’t belong and turned to music at the age of three as a way of finding her place. “I think that feeling of isolation allowed me to dig very, very deeply into music and into the craft of being a violinist and into the craft of developing a skill,” she says. “The discipline it took for me to master the instrument is something that I can then take into any other aspect of my life. I’m actually quite grateful, and for anybody who feels like, ‘I don’t fit in’ or ‘I don’t belong,’ it’s okay. I think it’s a sign to dig deeper into what makes you unique and then share that with the world even more boldly.”

Ezi has gone viral for her classical covers of trap hits like “Gucci Gang” by Lil Pump and “Mask Off” by Future, but her love for blending classical and modern music genres and making classical music accessible for everyone is more than just a trend – it’s her mission as an artist. “I love classical music so much,” she says. “And for me, with my platform, it means so much to me to be able to make classical music accessible for everyone. That for me is really my purpose on this earth, whether it’s through music education or through making a cover.”

As part of her efforts to make classical music accessible, Ezinma started Heartstrings Academy, a non-profit organization based in Manhattan’s Upper West Side that provides music education, instruments, and access to concerts free of charge to children from grades K through 5. “I know there are so many barriers into learning an instrument, into being able to perform with an orchestra,” Ezi says. “Heartstrings for me is sort of the little bit that I can do to make that more possible for more people.”

For Ezinma, making her mark on the world of classical music isn’t about following the status quo – it’s about living life on her own terms.


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