Steamboat high school violinist plays senior recital |

Steamboat high school violinist plays senior recital

Cedar Turek has played violin since he was 5 years old, and on Thursday, May 30, he’ll play his senior recital.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs High School senior Cedar Turek has studied violin for the better part of his 17 years, and Thursday night, he’ll share the best of what he’s learned at his senior recital.

As a student at Emerald Mountain School, Turek was required to learn to play a string instrument. His sister Sage, older by two and a half years, had already gotten started on violin, and 5-year-old Cedar decided to follow her path.

“I had just a little bit of talent, and (violin teacher) Mary Anne Fairlie saw that and worked with me,” Turek said.

In August 2014, Turek began studying privately with Teresa Steffen, director of Steamboat Springs High School String Orchestra.

“I love having him as a model for other students because he demonstrates what’s possible on the violin. The result is that you have opportunities to play the kind of music he’s playing,” Steffen said. “It’s perhaps the greatest kind of motivation we can have for other students.”

Starting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church, Turek will play Bach’s Suite No 3. for Viola, Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E Minor and C. Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.

If you go

What: Cedar Turek’s senior recital on violin
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, May 30
Where: Sanctuary of Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church, 736 Oak St.

“I think I’ve had, in my 20-plus years of teaching, probably fewer than 10 students who’ve played that piece of music because it’s so difficult,” Steffen said. “It’s not just technically demanding, but it also requires a maturity level.”

“The Mendelssohn is something I’ve been wanting to play for four years, but I haven’t had the ability to play until this year. It’s a lot of fun,” Turek said.

Turek attended Estes Park’s Rocky Ridge Music Camp and Denver University’s Lamont School of Music, receiving merit scholarships to both. Throughout his high school career, he played in the Western States Honors Orchestra and the Colorado All State Orchestra. This past year, he served as assistant principal violinist at Westerns and principal violin 2 at All State.

Earlier this year, at Steffen’s suggestion, Turek tried his hand at viola.

“I tried it out, and it was fun,” he said.

Beyond music, Turek is also deeply involved in a number of mathematical classes and extracurriculars. He’s taken a slew of college-level math classes, and this year, placed third in Colorado in the AMC 12. He’s volunteered as a coach for the Steamboat Springs Middle School math club and has been president of the high school math club for two years.

In June, he’ll compete with the Colorado team in the American Region Mathematics League competition in Las Vegas, and after that, he’ll spend the summer at the Canada/U.S. Mathcamp.

“Cedar is so, so intelligent that most people see his brain on paper,” Steffen said. “But as his music teacher, I get to see his heart come out through his violin.”

Come autumn, Turek will attend Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, a liberal arts college specializing in engineering, science and mathematics.

“We know that you don’t have to sacrifice your interest in music or art (or anything else) to be good scientists,” reads the college’s website.

Turek offers advice he’s learned the hard way with young musicians who might be struggling.

“Stick with it. It’s going to beat you down — it’s really, really hard, and it’s even harder to stick with it,” Turek said. “It’s like learning a new language, in a way.

“If you’re able to play an instrument, it’s awesome. But you only really learn if you just keep with it,” Turek added.

To reach Julia Ben-Asher, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @juliabenasher.

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