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New World Symphony Selects Meadows Masters Student as 2014 Fellow

Armed with a new Master’s of Music/Violin Performance degree, Zubaida Azezi is heading to Miami to join “America’s Orchestral Academy”

Recent graduate Zubaida Azezi (M.M. Violin Performance, ’14) is one of the fortunate few to be accepted into the prestigious New World Symphony Fellowship program in Miami, Florida. The violinist will move to Miami in fall 2014, where she will spend three rigorous years expanding her musical and professional horizons while at the same time performing in New World’s full season of concerts.

Azezi is excited about her musical future. Known as “America’s orchestral academy,” New World has launched many of its Fellows’ careers in orchestras and ensembles around the globe. In addition, the symphony has worked with internationally recognized conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Sir Georg Solti and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski; violinists Anne-Sophie Mutter, Midori and Gil Shaham; and artists Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, and Gloria Estefan, among many others.

Azezi was born in Urumqi, China, and began studying violin at age 5. She made her orchestral solo debut at age 14 and has been a member of and/or played with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra and L'orchestre de la francophonie Canadienne prior to her arrival at Meadows School of the Arts.

By the time she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Music in Violin Performance from Columbus State University in Georgia, she had her pick of master’s programs. Although she was accepted by several universities and had never even stepped foot on the SMU campus, she chose Meadows School of the Arts for one very compelling reason: the chance to study with violinist Emanuel Borok, Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Meadows.

“I took a master class from him while I was at Columbus State,” she explains. “He was such a wonderful teacher.

“I applied and was accepted to SMU and other universities, although I really didn’t know much about SMU at the time,” she says. “We moved from China to Canada when I was 11, so I didn’t grow up knowing about U.S. schools. Juilliard, Curtis, everyone knows about them … I never really heard of SMU before. But I chose SMU primarily because of Mr. Borok.”

Born and trained in the Soviet Union, Borok received his early musical instruction at the renowned Darzinya Music School in Riga, Latvia, and the Gnessin School of Music in Moscow. In 1964 he became prizewinner of the most important national violin competition in the former Soviet Union. In 1971, he won the position of co-concertmaster in the Moscow Philharmonic. From 1985 to 2010 he was concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; prior to that he was associate concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster of the Boston Pops Orchestra.

When asked what she gained by earning her master’s at Meadows, Azezi says Borok and the Meadows music faculty helped her establish a more open-minded view of music and reshaped her understanding of refinement.

“After two years at SMU I’m able to see the bigger picture more clearly,” she says. “Mr. Borok focuses a lot on refinement and that’s something I didn’t have and I still work on: refinement of sound, musicianship, and ideas. He’s really someone you want to go to, he’s such a master at what he does and he’s a wonderful pedagogue.

“My time at Meadows definitely made me love music even more.”

Borok is enthusiastic about her future at New World. “To get in to the New World Symphony program is not an easy thing,” he says. “There are literally hundreds of applicants. We are all delighted she won the coveted position.”

Read more about Meadows School of the Arts graduate programs in music.

Read more about the New World Symphony.

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