Sameer Agrawal, Violin

Photo credit: © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2022

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Sameer Agrawal is a Merit Fellow at the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago, a pre-college training program for advanced string and piano students. He currently studies with Sang Mee Lee, and began studying violin at age 5 with Suzuki teacher Debbie Crosser. He is also a Fellow of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, a mentorship and scholarship program for underrepresented groups in classical music. This fall, he will be attending the Curtis Institute of Music. 

Sameer made his solo orchestral debut at age 12, playing Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen with the Northeastern Illinois University Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared with the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra of Chicago (twice), the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, Music Institute of Chicago Academy Chamber Orchestra, and Northside College Prep Chamber Strings.

In 2022, Sameer was awarded second prize in the Cooper International Competition, and was also a semifinalist in the Johansen International Competition. In addition, he was a 2022 National YoungArts winner. He is a Guarneri Hall NFP Affiliate Young Artist and a Starling Foundation Scholarship winner. He has also received prizes at the DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers, Walgreens National Concerto Competition, Society of American Musicians Competition, Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest Concerto Competition, Center Stage Strings Solo and BIPOC Competitions, Sejong Cultural Society Competition, Music Festival in Honor of Confucius, and the Chicago Chamber Music Festival Concerto Competition.

He has appeared multiple times on WFMT’s Introductions, including a full live studio recital in 2022, and was spotlighted on From the Top’s Daily Joy. Sameer recently performed on the Young Steinway Concert Series, was the featured soloist on the Stars of Tomorrow series, and has performed at Make Music Chicago, the Thirsty Ears Classical Street Music Festival, ConnectD concert series, and pre-concert performances at Symphony Center.

Sameer has participated in masterclasses and guest coachings with Hilary Hahn, Riccardo Muti, Donald Weilerstein, Robert Lipsett, Ani Kavafian, Daniel Phillips, Danielle Belen, Stella Chen, Danbi Um, Margaret Batjer, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Jessie Montgomery, Desiree Ruhstrat, Sibbi Bernhardssohn, Deborah Buck, Steven Tenenbom, the Cavani Quartet, the Arianna Quartet, the Spektral Quartet, the Lincoln Trio, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Summer studies have included Center Stage Strings, Curtis Mentorship Network, and the Chicago Chamber Music Festival, where he has worked with Simon James, Elbert Tsai, Danielle Belen, Fabiola Kim, and Steven Copes, among others.

An avid orchestral musician, Sameer performs with the MIC Academy Chamber Orchestra as one of its concertmasters, serves as concertmaster for Northside College Prep Chamber Strings, and previously played with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras as concertmaster. He was co-concertmaster of the 2022 Chicago Youth in Music Festival Orchestra under Riccardo Muti and Lina Gonzalez-Granados.

Sameer currently plays in a piano trio at MIC Academy. Previous chamber music activities include prizes at the Chicago National Chamber Music Competition, quarterfinalist at Fischoff, and performances at the MIC Gala and on WFMT Introductions. He also was a member of the CMPI String Quartet, which performed on a Chicago Symphony Orchestra Salon Series, performed pre-concert recitals at Symphony Center, and played a full recital on WFMT’s Anniversary Special. He has performed in other chamber music groups at the Music Institute of Chicago, Chicago Chamber Music Festival, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, and Chicago Public Schools.

Other musical interests include studying viola and piano, as well as music theory. He enjoys composing chamber and symphonic music. Sameer attends Northside College Prep, a Chicago Public School. In addition to music, Sameer enjoys math and birdwatching.


Sameer performs on a violin by Paul Blanchard, 1884, courtesy of Guarneri Hall NFP and Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins, Chicago.

  • Music Institute of Chicago Academy Chamber Orchestra, Arutiunian: Armenia-88 Violin Concerto
  • Northside College Preparatory School Chamber Strings, Vivaldi: Winter from the Four Seasons, 3rd movement
  • Canton Symphony Orchestra (Cooper Competition), Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto (complete)
  • Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago, Mozart: Violin Concerto #5 in A major, 1st movement
  • Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto #5 in a minor, 1st movement
  • Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago, Wieniawski: Violin Concerto in d minor, 1st movement
  • Northside College Preparatory School Chamber Strings, Vivaldi: Winter from the Four Seasons, 1st movement
  • Northeastern Illinois University Symphony Orchestra, Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen
  • Hilary Hahn
  • Riccardo Muti
  • Donald Weilerstein
  • Robert Lipsett
  • Ani Kavafian
  • Daniel Phillips
  • Danielle Belen
  • Stella Chen
  • Danbi Um
  • Margaret Batjer
  • Alexander Sitkovetsky
  • Jessie Montgomery
  • Desiree Ruhstrat
  • Sibbi Bernhardssohn
  • Deborah Buck
  • Steven Tenenbom
  • Cavani Quartet
  • Arianna Quartet
  • Spektral Quartet
  • Lincoln Trio
  • Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
  • Cooper International Competition Second Prize
  • Johansen International Competition Semifinalist
  • National YoungArts Foundation Winner
  • Fischoff Chamber Music Competition Quarterfinalist
  • Walgreens National Concerto Competition
  • Society of American Musicians, First Prize, Senior Division
  • DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers Winner (2019 and 2021)
  • BIPOC Composer Competition at Center Stage Strings, Second Prize
  • Center Stage Strings Solo Repertoire Competition Finalist
  • Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest Concerto Competition Winner
  • Chicago National Chamber Music Competition
  • Midwest National Chamber Music Competition
  • Illinois High School Association, Music Division, Best of the Day Solo Award
  • Music Festival in Honor of Confucius
  • Sejong Cultural Society Competition
  • Sound Espressivo Global Competition First Prize
  • Chicago Chamber Music Festival Concerto Competition Winner