At 13, Mesa boy is an accomplished violinst The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

At 13, Mesa boy is an accomplished violinst

At 13, Mesa boy is an  accomplished violinst


At 13, Jonathan Okseniuk has become a musical superstar of sorts.

The Mesa violinist recently placed first in the Music Teachers National Association Junior Performance Competition’s string category. 

The competition is one of the most successful and prestigious student musical contests in the country with thousands of students annually vying for big prizes and national recognition.

But prizes aren’t the main goal.

The group says aims “to provide educational experiences for students and teachers and to recognize exceptionally talented young artists and their teachers in their pursuit of musical excellence.”

Jonathan studies with Jing Zeng of Chandler, a violinist with the Phoenix Symphony.

The son of Edwin and Desiree Okseniuk, he’s about to graduate from eighth grade at Arete Preparatory Academy.

Even at his young age, he’s no newcomer to the violin.

“I started playing the violin when I was 3 years old,” he said, adding his inspiration came even earlier.

“I was 19 months old,” he explained. “I saw Andre Rieu on TV and loved the sound of the violin.”

He made his public debut at age 4 in 2010, when performed Dvorak’s “Humoresque” at the Chandler Symphony Orchestra Holiday concert.

The next year, he conducted a string orchestra for the first time as an encore to the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin concert in Torrance, California, and later conducted the Chandler Symphony Orchestra.

In 2012, Jonathan was a conductor for a segment on CNN host Anderson Cooper’s talk show, conducting the fourth movement of Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik“ with a string orchestra.

After winning a video conducting contest, Jonathan conducted the Houston Symphony in 2013 and was invited the next night for an encore.

Later that year, he was invited to be a guest conductor of the Scottsdale Philharmonic and was asked to return as guest conductor.

He has also performed in New York City with the Suprima Orchestra, with the Sun City Concert Band and with a string orchestra on the TV show “Little Big Shots.”

He’s also conducted and played violin solos with the St. Petersburg String Quartet and the St. Petersburg International Music Academy.

In 2016, Jonathan became a member of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and served as principal second violin.

The following year, he won first place in the Phoenix Youth Symphony’s Young Musicians Competition and later that year made his debut with the West Valley Symphony. He also won first place in the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Scholarship Competition.

Named concertmaster of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony for the 2017/2018 season, he was a medalist in the Arizona State Music Teachers Association State Honors Recital, performing on the piano.

He also achieved first place in the 2018 Phoenix International Music Competition for Young Virtuoso and became a member of the Youth Symphony of the Southwest orchestra, serving as principal second violin.

He’s earned other first-place awards in the junior category of Arizona American String Teachers Association State Solo Competition, the Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition, the junior category of Arizona American String Teachers Association State Solo Competition and the Phoenix Youth Symphony’s Young Musicians Competition.

Although music consumes much of his time, Jonathan also enjoys playing video games, soccer and basketball with friends. He also enjoys hiking, playing foosball and watching movies with his family.

His most recent win ame in a competition with six students from around the world and said he was elated with the outcome.

“I was overjoyed because it was one of my biggest accomplishments,” said Jonathan, who averages about 24 hours of week practicing.

And it won’t be a surprise anyone that he hopes to make music a lifelong career.

“Yes, most definitely,” he said. “I cannot imagine my life without music.” 

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