University of Missouri School of Music graduate student Alexandre Negrão, 25, originally from Belém, Brazil, has spent the past 19 years in pursuit of mastering the violin.

Negrão’s journey began after a friend suggested he take free music lessons from a place in his hometown. Although he went in with the intention of playing the saxophone, the music teachers said the string instrument was a better fit for him. Those teachers would eventually help him fall in love with the violin.

“While they were teaching, they were expressing themselves and showing their love to this instrument,” Negrão said. “I kind of wanted to feel the same way as them — connected to this. So, I think they taught me how to love this instrument.”

After years of training and performing with his local orchestra, Negrão’s pursuit of music would bring him to Thibodaux, Louisiana, to study under a professor at Nicholls State University. It is there he would learn English while fine tuning his craft. Eventually, Negrão would audition and receive a scholarship to study at the University of Missouri School of Music.

More than three years later, Negrão will be graduating with multiple awards and performances under his belt. Outside of the theater and in his free time, he teaches violin lessons. This keeps in in touch with those who are learning. He says he hasn’t forgotten what it was like being a student new to the music world.

“You need to know how to talk to (students) and how to inspire. You can show them everything but if they’re not inspired, they’re not going to practice,” Negrão said. “Your main goal is for them to practice at home and make it concrete.”

Negrão dreams of being a concertmaster, an additional role to performing in an orchestra that involves being a broker between the performers and the conductor. The role is important as conductors for an orchestra are often changing. This role is similar to how he looks at teaching.

“You need to rehearse playing and rehearse talking with people. If you say something in a way, it might be offensive for someone; or if you phrase it in a certain way, it might be hurting someone,” Negrão said. “It’s difficult to work with people. But I like it as part of the job. I’ll be honest, I love it.”

His dream is to become a concertmaster for one of the Big Five orchestras, which includes the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Before reaching that dream, Negrão will be pursuing a master’s in violin performance this coming year.

  • Visual Editor for the Columbia Missourian

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