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A Musician Shaped By The Hills of South Dakota

Twenty-year-old Indian-American violinist Maya Anjali Buchanan
Twenty-year-old Indian-American violinist Maya Anjali Buchanan attends the Curtis Institute of Music and is a senior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021. (Photo: Hillary Rea)


“I definitely loved the violin because it was something for me to really put my time and passions into. And then when I finally started getting the social side of it, it really just opened up everything for me.”

Growing up in South Dakota, Maya Anjali Buchanan loved the open space and mountains, and doing her share on the family farm. But learning violin in a rural area is challenging. So when Maya was in the third grade, the family began regularly travelling to Dallas, Texas for a week of intensive music lessons and theory classes.

“That was pretty radical,” Buchanan said. “It was one of the best things we ever did. I would not be where I am today without having done that.”

Buchanan’s since performed in Europe, China and across the U.S. She’s also a top medalist of the Washington, Stulberg, Stradivarius and Johansen International Competitions. Buchanan currently studies at the Curtis Institute of Music where she says her teacher Ida Kavafian has helped her get out of her comfort zone.

“She’s making me make a lot of my own decisions now, which is very liberating and very terrifying,” said Buchanan. “I'm glad she's helping me find my own voice.”

Maya Anjali Buchanan is a senior competitor in  Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021.

Credits: Hillary Rea recorded our interview with Maya in Philadelphia. This episode was produced by Catherine Komp, Peter Solomon and Mike Goldberg. If you liked what you heard, please rate and review Making Menuhin in your favorite podcast player.

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