SFCM violinist Yvette Kraft is set to be featured on From The Top, the broadcast on NPR features the personal stories of extraordinary classically-trained young musicians across the country. Kraft will be performing on the FTT Live show on Nov. 4th and official radio show later this month.
By Mark Taylor
It’s the most popular one-hour weekly syndicated classical program on public radio and this month it will feature SFCM violin player Yvette Kraft. “This show is definitely an exciting first for me!” Kraft said of her upcoming performance on From The Top Live, and official radio show on NPR. Kraft will appear with two other young musicians in a series about teenage string players on FTT Live on Thursday, November 4th at 5pm (PT) and on the official FTT radio show set to air around Thanksgiving on NPR.
19-year-old Kraft sent in her application in early March of 2020, right before the program stopped doing shows because of the pandemic, but got the exciting news a few months ago, “It was not until July of this year that they contacted me inviting me to be a From the Top fellow and take part in their Learning and Media Lab Residency,” Kraft said.
While this will be the biggest debut for Kraft on such a large virtual venue, she is no stranger to performance. After getting her first violin at age 5, Kraft debuted with the Spokane Symphony at age 11, and has always been drawn to classical music, “I wanted to lift the souls of my audience to experience something outside themselves. And classical music is one of the purest conduits of beauty, that has the power to lift our eyes to the ultimate creator of beauty—the Almighty.”
Kraft is a first-year student at SFCM, studying under Simon James, whom she worked with privately beforehand, “Working with Simon James has had a tremendously wonderful and critical impact on my growth as a violinist. I started inquiring into the possibility of studying with him after participating in the Seattle Young Artist Music Festival and noticing that the extraordinarily good young players were all from his studio.”
Working with James and SFCM's recent acquisition of Opus 3 motivated her to come to the conservatory, “San Francisco Conservatory’s mission to support the artist’s pursuits, for example, to participate in international competitions or explore new interests, drew me in. SFCM's acquisition of Opus 3 artists also enticed me, and I desired the multitude of opportunities both professional and artistic this endeavor would promote.”
To get ready for a performance, Kraft is methodically in her preparation, “Playing through a piece at multiple studio classes, doing everything I would do in a real performance, is essential to elevating one’s quality and comfort in front of an audience.” While at SFCM Kraft said she has also recently appreciated the benefits of recording her violin playing, “These instant tracks give an unbiased, objective picture of my playing, which, unlike a memory, a frustrated or unfocused mood can't modify or distort.”
For the From The Top Live event on Nov. 4th, Kraft will be doing a performance of Bach's Sarabande from the Partita No. 1 in B Minor. For the FTT radio show debut later this month on NPR, she will be playing Elgar's ‘La Capricieuse’.
Learn more about studying violin on SFCM.