Sameer Agrawal, 18, is a violinist from Chicago, Illinois. He studies with Midori Goto at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he holds the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Fellowship.
Sameer graduated after five years as a Merit Fellow at the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago, a pre-college training program for advanced string and piano students. He studied for 6 years with Sang Mee Lee, and began studying violin at age 5 with Suzuki teacher Debbie Crosser. He also was an inaugural Fellow of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, a mentorship and scholarship program for underrepresented groups in classical music.
Sameer made his solo orchestral debut at age 12 with the Northeastern Illinois University Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared with other orchestras, including the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra of Chicago, 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 the 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 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 a spotlight recital at Center Stage Strings, was featured 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, 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, as well as the Cavani, Ivalas, Arianna, and Spektral Quartets, 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 performed with the MIC Academy Chamber Orchestra as one of its concertmasters, served as concertmaster for Northside College Prep Chamber Strings, and 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’s 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. As a member of the CMPI String Quartet, he performed on a Chicago Symphony Orchestra Salon Series, 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, Center Stage Strings, 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 and composition. Sameer recently graduated from Northside College Prep, a Chicago Public School. In addition to music, Sameer enjoys nature and birdwatching.
Sameer performs on a violin by Paul Blanchard, 1884, courtesy of Guarneri Hall NFP and Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins, Chicago.