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Youth soloist is a veteran

October 22, 1998

Fourteen-year-old Shunsuke Sato - pronounced SHUN-skay SAH-toe - has been playing the violin for about 12 years. Yes, do the math, the teenager was 2 when he started at Suzuki Talent Institute in Tokyo. His family moved to the United States the following year.

Shunsuke will be the soloist on Max Bruch's "Violin Concerto No. 1" with Maryland Symphony Orchestra Saturday, Oct. 24, and Sunday, Oct. 25.

He'll join conductor Barry Jekowsky in Prelude, the discussion that will precede the performances. "I'm a little nervous about it," Shunsuke says.

His first performances with an orchestra came when he was 10. He won the children's division of Philadelphia Orchestra Young Artists Competition. He was presented as a soloist in two concerts and was hired for a summer concert with Philadelphia Orchestra. This symphony season, his schedule includes performances with National Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

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Shunsuke lives in Philadelphia and attends Central High School. He and his mother drive to New York City every Saturday where he is a student in The Juilliard School's precollege program.

You may remember the young musician from a 1997 television commercial for 3MComfort Strips. He played the violin with a big bandage on his finger. Shunsuke says filming the spot was fun, but it took about 15 hours.

Shunsuke practices about four to six hours a day. In his spare time, he enjoys drawing and doodling, computer programming and reading. He likes history and mysteries. He also likes listening to music, especially jazz.

"It's just such neat music," he says.

- Kate Coleman

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