Kenneth Ryu Takebe Naito, a sixth grader at Bonnie Branch Middle School, has been playing violin since the age of four and is currently studying with Shirley Givens in New York. Last year, he performed the Bruch Violin Concerto with the Kostroma Symphony Orchestra in Russia as an American Fine Arts Festival (AFAF) Concerto Competition winner of 2010. Kenneth Ryu has won numerous competitions including the 2008 and 2009 MSTA string competitions, the American Protégé International Competition in 2008 and 2010, the AFAF Golden String International Competition in 2010, the National League Young Musicians Show Case in 2009, and 2nd place in the Alexander Buono International Competition in 2009 and 2010. Most recently, he was a winner at the Golden Era of Romantic Music International Competition in 2011. Kenneth Ryu performed his first recital at the Peabody Elder Hostel Program at age 8. He has since given numerous recitals including at Weil Recital Hall and Merkin Hall in New York City. He played at the City Hall in Sulzbach-Rosenberg in Germany at the Interharmony International Music Festival (SRIMF) last summer. The newspaper Stadt Sulzbach-Rosenberg described him as “the star of the 1st Concert of the Festival season and drew the biggest applause” by playing Wieniawski’s Scherzo and Tarantelle.
Kenneth Ryu is also an active chamber musician playing with the Bonnie Branch Middle School String Quintet, which recently performed Dvorak’s Quintet in G minor. He is also concertmaster of the school orchestra.
His hobbies include playing piano, skiing, reading, collecting antique Thunderbird models, tennis, and bicycling. He is currently preparing for his black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. Kenneth Ryu was selected as the Junior Division Winner of the Columbia Orchestra’s 2012 Young Artist Competition.
Photo courtesy of James Ferry Photography