I love the feeling of sitting in or leading a section and bringing a large group of people together to create one magnificent product. 

Nikki Naghavi was born in Dallas, Texas. She started violin lessons at the age of 4 and currently studies at the New England Conservatory of Music with Ayano Ninomiya. She had her orchestral debut in January 2018 with the Baylor Chamber Orchestra, and she soloed with the Plano Symphony in March of that year. Nikki also won 3rd prize at the Lynn Harrell Competition in 2018. Nikki was selected as concertmaster of the Texas All-State Symphony orchestra in 2017 and was also the concertmaster of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. She has attended and performed several times at Round Top and Bowdoin International Music Festivals, and in the summer of 2019, she was given the opportunity to tour Europe as principal second violinist of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA. Nikki has performed on the radio show, From The Top, in June 2019, and was also selected as a collegiate ambassador for the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-2020 season. She also substitutes frequently with the Plano Symphony Orchestra. Aside from playing the violin, Nikki enjoys traveling and exploring new cultures, as well as spending time with her friends and family. She is also a Co-Founder of Through the Staff, an organization that provides free online music lessons to young musicians who could otherwise not afford or have access to them.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE GDYO EXPERIENCE OR MEMORY?

My favorite GDYO memory is the ice cream social at the end of every season’s last concert. It’s a wonderful time to spend time with everyone who cares about the orchestra, from musicians to parents to concertgoers, and reflect on the accomplishments of the past season.

WHAT LIFE ACHIEVEMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF SO FAR & WHY?

One achievement I’m very proud of is co-founding Through the Staff, an organization that provides free private music lessons to deserving young children across the world. As someone who was very lucky to have had access to music lessons all my life, I feel that it’s important to do what I can to give back to the community and foster the growth of music education music in younger generations.

TELL US ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE BEEN UP TO SINCE GRADUATING FROM GDYO.

Currently, I’m heading into my junior year studying violin performance at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. Besides school, I’ve been pretty busy teaching students and playing in a few local orchestras around Boston and the DFW area. 

WHAT FACTORS SHOULD PROSPECTIVE MUSIC STUDENTS CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A SCHOOL? IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFOREHAND?

It’s important to assess the environment you want to spend your time in. For example, studying at a university is vastly different than a conservatory in terms of size, school spirit, and course selection. Everyone says the teacher with whom you want to study is also crucial, and that is very true, but I wouldn’t forget to take into account the other amenities a school might offer that pique your interest. 

YOU HAVE QUITE THE SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING! HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO BALANCE SCHOOL, PERFORMING, & YOUR PERSONAL LIFE WITH YOUR CONTENT CREATION?

Haha, honestly, it’s a lot sometimes. My brain is usually in many places at once and that is something I think I need to work on. One thing I’ve found that helps is always having a way of taking notes wherever I am, whether that’s on my phone or on one of the million sticky-notes on my desk at home. This way, if I ever have an idea pop into my head, I can write it down somewhere I trust I will check later and complete that task. It’s important to be mentally present in each moment, as that’s where true inspiration can manifest itself. 

TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR PERSONAL AND/OR PROFESSIONAL GOALS FOR THE FUTURE.

At this point, I’m working toward playing in a professional orchestra. I love the feeling of sitting in or leading a section and bringing a large group of people together to create one magnificent product. It’s like no other experience I’ve ever had. I’ve also been teaching students a lot more recently, especially during the pandemic. That’s something I can see myself doing as well since each lesson isn’t just a learning experience for the student, but for me as well.

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

My friends are huge inspirations for me. They are some of the most hardworking people and I feel immensely grateful every day to be able to call them up for advice or see what they’re up to. One person might be about to shadow a surgery, another is preparing for a big competition, and someone else is taking an interview at a large financial firm. It’s just insane to be at this age where one’s professional path is starting to take shape and unfold around you. There is so much to learn! 

ANY HOBBIES, FUN FACTS, OR LIFE HIGHLIGHTS OUTSIDE YOUR CAREER YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?

I’ve always had an affinity toward real estate, so I’ve decided to work on getting my license after I finish my undergraduate degree, along with whatever else I may be doing at the time. We’ll see where it goes, but I think it will be nice (and fun!) to have that in my back pocket.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO CURRENT GDYO STUDENTS?

Take full advantage of every opportunity laid in front of you to learn. Whether it’s a semester-long class, a one-time webinar, an article that was sent to your inbox, or an opportunity to meet a deadline and complete a challenge, take it. You never know what skills you may learn or find that you have and how they can be useful to you in the future. Also, enjoy every moment of what you’re doing and where you’re at as though it’s the last time you have it. 

THANK YOU NIKKI FOR STEPPING INTO OUR ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT! 

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW WOULD BE INTERESTED IN SHARING THE ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT OR WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE GDYO ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, CONTACT CHARILYNE ROJAS AT CHARILYNE@GDYO.ORG.

FOLLOW US @GREATERDALLASYO & ON OUR ALUMNI ASSOCIATION FACEBOOK PAGE FOR ALL THE LATEST NEWS, EVENTS, & UPDATES!