You’ve heard of the pop hit “Despacito”, but you probably haven’t heard it played on the violin.
Nine-year-old violinist Karolina Protsenko recently gave an awe-inspiring public performance in Santa Monica, CA. With her long braid flying, Karolina was obviously enjoying herself as she performed. She didn’t have a hint of stage fright.
People clapped along to the music and recorded on their cell phones, a crowd quickly gathering at the sight of the talented little girl. She played with enthusiasm and concentration, wholly focused on her music and her instrument.
Her skill is doubly amazing when you consider that she’s only 9 years old and plays with the talent of a much more mature violinist.
People were even happy to drop money into her bucket, impressed by the little girl and her violin.
Finally finishing the song with a flourish, Karolina tucked her violin under her arm and gave the crowd a grin and a bow as applause broke out.
It’s not Karolina’s first performance. In fact, she already has her own YouTube channel with more than 100,000 subscribers.
“I am Karolina Protsenko,” reads the description of her YouTube channel. “I’ve been playing violin since I was 6 years old. My desire is to bring a little bit of magic and inspiration into the world through my love to violin. Thank you for helping me share the gift of music. I love you.”
And she’s certainly living up to that desire. Karolina has uploaded 21 videos of her own performances. She focuses on covers of popular songs like “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran and “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5.
Pop violin is a genre that has expanded in recent years, with many other musicians covering pop songs or otherwise incorporating pop elements into violin music.
And Karolina seems to have drawn inspiration from one of the most famous. Her dance moves in her live performance of “Despacito” are reminiscent of pop violinist Lindsey Stirling’s distinctive style.
Stirling, a pop and Dubstep musician from California, rose to fame during season five of America’s Got Talent. Though Stirling wowed the audience, the judges weren’t impressed, and they didn’t mince their words about telling her about it.
”You’re not untalented, but you’re not good enough, I don’t think, to get away with flying through the air and trying to play the violin at the same time,” said judge Piers Morgan.
But the joke was on them: Stirling went on to become a YouTube sensation.
Her blend of electronic and classical elements in both original compositions and covers, as well as her unique form of performance, earned her 2 billion YouTube subscribers and launched her career. Now, Stirling tours worldwide and has released five albums. She’s also collaborated with some really big names both on the internet and elsewhere, including Pete Hollens and Pentatonix.
But she says she doesn’t blame the America’s Got Talent judges for their harsh criticisms of the past. In fact, she actually agrees with them.
“It took me years to realize that they weren’t necessarily wrong,” said Stirling.
“It hurt so bad because it was kind of true, and I think the truth hurts way more. And they were right. I hadn’t earned or developed the skills to be able to dance, to be thrown around up in the air while playing the violin. It’s really difficult.”
But now, Stirling has spent years perfecting her skills in performance, dance, composition, and musicianship. And she’s very happy with the way her life has turned out. Though she was kicked off Season 5, she’s at peace with the decision — so much so that she declined the invitation to return for this year’s “The Champions” season.
“It was really funny because they called me, and I thought maybe they wanted me to be a guest performer or something and I literally, my jaw kind of dropped,” she said. “They were like, ‘We want to invite you back on America’s Got Talent.’ And I was like, ‘Thank you. I don’t mean to be rude, but I would never come back to compete. Like, I’m sorry I do really well on my own now. I tour the world. Thank you, but absolutely not.’ It was a funny moment for me.”
As for Karolina Protsenko, she has a spark that shows her confidence and her love of performing.
She’s insanely talented and she’s gunning to make a name for herself in coming years in the world of pop violin. With her amazing talent, energy, and drive, the internet will be watching as she gets older and continues to produce music.
She’s got some pretty big shoes to fill, but even Stirling herself would say that she has the power to do it.
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