Watch CBS News

Meet the Chester County preteen who's a rising star in the violin world, using music to tell stories

Meet the young Chester County violin prodigy taking space in the Philadelphia classical music scene
Meet the young Chester County violin prodigy taking space in the Philadelphia classical music scene 02:24

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Storytelling is what Mio Imai loves to do. The Chester County preteen is on the rise not just in the Philadelphia classical music scene, but around the world.

Last month, Imai won first prize in the adolescent category at the Arthur Grumiaux International Violin Competition in Belgium, scoring her a cash prize and concert contract, but many believe her impressive accomplishments are just beginning.

"I feel like with the violin, you can make so many different colors and moods," Imai said.

The 13-year-old's voice is shared through the strings on her violin.

"I feel like music is amazing power that I have," Imai said.

A power she shared in the Philadelphia living room of Kimberly Fisher, Principal 2nd Violin with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Imai's teacher.

CBS News Philadelphia

"She doesn't play the violin like a 13-year-old. She doesn't relate to music like a 13-year-old. She's still young at heart. But there's a maturity about her not just her playing, but what she wishes to convey," Fisher said.

At 4 years old, Imai discovered the gift of music. By 8 years old, she performed in front of Fisher through the Philadelphia International Music Festival and soon after became her student. The two rehearse in person or virtually for several hours every week.

Fast forward, and the eighth grader from Spring City, Pennsylvania, is now traveling around the world, winning top prizes in the United States, Italy and Belgium.

"I want to be a really great violinist, and I want to be able to share my music with the world," Imai said.

Making connections on stage with the audience is what Imai loves best. As the saying goes, "Where words fail, music speaks" — and tonight's onlookers, including Peanut the pup, are soaking in the story being told.

"She's on the right track to do whatever it is that she chooses with the violin as a musician, and she'll bring a lot of joy to a lot of people listening," Fisher said with a smile.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.