Locals 2007: Claire Cohen | SteamboatToday.com

Locals 2007: Claire Cohen

Claire Cohen
John F. Russell

— Whether standing in front of 1,000 people during a prestigious violin concert in Snowmass or in front of the fireplace in her Steamboat Springs home, 9-year-old Claire always stands tall, keeps her arms relaxed and focuses on her violin strings.

“Playing fast is my favorite,” Claire said. “Playing slow is the hardest.”

Claire picked up her first violin at Lowell Whiteman Primary School when she was 5. What is an intimidating instrument for many aspiring musicians quickly became like a third arm for Claire.

“She takes it everywhere and plays,” Claire’s mother, Karen Cohen, said.

Claire practices about one hour each day, trying to memorize her recital pieces, but a previous recital represented more than a chance to be on stage. Claire made a promise nearly three years ago that she would play her violin for 1,000 straight days, and March 17 marked the successful completion of that vow.

Still a young girl at heart, Claire isn’t about to let her musical talent get in the way of growing up in Steamboat. The Soda Creek Elementary School fourth-grader loves to ski jump, swim and read the comics “Garfield” and “Baby Blues.”

But music is her first love. In fact, Claire may have found her next big adventure during a summer swim meet in Aspen when another swimmer let Claire strum the strings of a harp.

“I play the piano a little bit, but I want to learn to play the harp,” Claire said.

For now – as was the case on a recent cloudy afternoon – the gifted violinist is content to perform Frederick Seitz’s Concerto No. 2 in G on a small wooden violin no larger than a loaf of bread.

She finishes. She smiles.

And she declares: “I love to perform.”

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