Victoria Raja

Have you seen CYM co-founder Ms. Victoria at a CYM concert or before or after your class or lesson in Wexford or Sewickley? Be sure to say “hello” when you do!

Here is a little more about Ms. Victoria…

Victoria Raja McGinnis brings her diversified musical training and experience to the Center for Young Musicians. Victoria co-founded CYM in 1994, initiating the school’s Instrumental, Early Childhood Music and Music Literacy programs. Currently, Victoria assists with CYM’s, curriculum development and the school’s faculty training and searches. An advocate for music literacy and early childhood musical development, Victoria is registered through Viola Book 6, Cello Book 4, and Violin Book 3 by the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Additionally, Victoria is trained in Eurythmics Pedagogy, and the Musikgarten and Kindermusik methods. Her synthesis of all of these teaching viewpoints informs the vision she brings to CYM’s curriculum.

Victoria holds performance degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the University of Notre Dame. Her Suzuki training includes study with Suzuki teachers William Pruceil Sr., Stevie Sandven, Pat D’ercole, AliceJoy Lewis, Pamela Davenport, Barbara Wampner and Hiroko Driver. Victoria’s performance experience stems from her active career as a freelance musician in Cleveland, South Bend, and Louisville, as well as appearances at the Chautauqua Institute, The Quartet Program, Meadowmount, and with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra. Victoria’s primary instrumental teachers are Leonard Moss, Nancy Holland, Heidi Castleman, and Victoria Chiang.

Victoria is an active member of the Soka Gokai International, and lives with her family in Wexford.

CYM sat down and had a fun Q and A with Ms. Victora:

CYM: What was your favorite childhood book?

Ms. Victoria: The books I read as a child that made an impression on me were anything written by Bill Peet, because his rhymes made me laugh, and C. S. Lewis’s suspenseful Narnia Chronicles, because the story’s characters and their underlying moral dilemmas were described so vividly.

CYM: Most memorable performance as a youth?

Ms. Victoria: The performance that I remember best from my teenage years was when I played viola  with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. We celebrated Leonard Bernstein’s 65th birthday by performing Candide and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, over a hundred of us squeezed onto a tiny stage in Lennox, Mass, as he conducted like a wild man. I must say I played dynamically that night, not because I was excited about the opportunity to be so close to an American legend but because I feared for my life! Bernstein’s baton kept swooping in front of the music on my stand every time he bent his knees to show a down beat and I thought for sure that I would be impaled by its tip at any moment. He had the fancy ivory kind that would not break easily … I made it through though, ate some cake and got even closer to wish him happy birthday and ask for an autograph in his biography that I had purchased… Yes, it was a thrill for me, having been raised to revere our national modern composers.

CYM: One thing that people would be surprised to know about me?

Ms. Victoria:  If called upon, my legs can run extremely fast.

CYM: What has music given me?

Ms. Victoria: Music has given me the means to attempt to understand the human heart.

CYM: Favorite treat to eat?

Ms. Victoria: My favorite treat to eat is a ripe organic honey crisp apple.

The Center for Young Musicians