Spotlight on Nazar

17-year-old Nazar is one of NOFA’s founding members and led the orchestra during the 2015-2016 Season. Nazar began playing the violin aged nine when he was presented with a violin and chose to carry on learning after developing an attachment to the instrument. He had always liked music and having an opportunity to play an instrument was, as he puts it, “a dream come true”.

We first met Nazar in 2011 at the very first NOFA residential course, following his nomination from the Sheffield Music Hub. He was keen to take part as playing in a large ensemble in an intensive setting was not something he had had the chance to do before and meant that he “could dedicate more time to the thing he loves most – music”.

“With NOFA, I felt I was encouraged to reach my full potential through the rehearsals and the choice of pieces each year was always interesting and helped me express my playing which in turn, improved my abilities... I feel that with every course, NOFA has improved my way of thinking in terms of music, getting to feel the music as if it is inside you, which is a valuable skill”.

Alongside the musical benefits that Nazar gained through inclusion in NOFA, he also notices progress in his social skills, from first being nervous about meeting so many new people to making friends and developing confidence with each season. “Socially, I feel I have been the best I have ever been. I am positive, upbeat, full of passion and excitement!”

He has also acknowledged that this increased confidence and enthusiasm allows him to support and inspire other members of the orchestra: “I may be thought of as a little crazy too but I think my enthusiasm and warm nature has inspired many and made others feel comfortable and welcome around me, one example being the members of NOFA who have come to adore the drive and confidence I possess as well as support I give to the members, filling them with confidence too.”

For Nazar the best part of NOFA is the end of course concert when everyone comes together to showcase their hard work, and the thrill of the sound that is being collectively created builds a sense of communal achievement: “I have wanted to come back every single year because of the thrill and adrenaline pumping feeling I get from the end of course concert.”

Now in his final year of secondary school, Nazar has been inspired to take his musicianship to the highest level possible through joining other youth ensembles including the City of Sheffield Youth Orchestra. His ambition is to take his violin playing to professional level in the years ahead and, with the support of NOFA, was recently awarded a grant through Awards for Young Musicians to support him with his musical studies.