Aisha Syed Castro, the Dominican Violinist Genius

BY: 
Susanne Ramírez de Arellano
 | December 16, 2022

Image courtesy of Nuestro Stories.

Few times are talent and genius evident at an early age. Such was the case with Dominican violinist Aisha Syed Castro. At just eleven years old, this young artist made her debut with the Dominican Symphony Orchestra, and she has been playing for international audiences ever since.

Syed, whose mother is Dominican and her father is Pakistani, started playing the violin when she was five. Her sister, four years older than Aisha, had started playing before her, and she wanted to follow and copy her. The mother of the girls thought it was an excellent idea for her daughters to learn an instrument so they wouldn’t spend long periods locked up at home.

A young talent conquering audiences 

Soon, Sayed’s talent was noticed at auditions, with teachers telling her mother how good she was. Shortly after, she debuted at the Fine Arts, the National Theater, and the Cibao Theater, the three most important in the country.

After these performances, Syed’s teacher told the young prodigy’s mother: “Look, ma’am, she already did everything there was to do as a soloist in the Dominican Republic. Let’s see if she can study abroad at the Yehudi Menuhin School or Julliard.” 

Aisha Syed Castro applied to the Yehudi Menuhin School in London and was accepted, the first Latina to attend the school for young prodigies. She went on to study at the Royal College of Music and became one of the violin’s youngest and most talented ambassadors.

A violin proud of its roots

Aisha Syed Castro is now one of the best violinists in the world, who graces the stage with her virtuosity and beauty. Since she was a child, Aisha, who first heard the violin in music by Johann Sebastian Bach from a CD her mother had, found the violin sound one of the most unique and wonderful. 

Now, at 33, Syed performs as a soloist with the greatest symphonies in the world and uses her violin to represent the Dominican Republic and Latino culture. She has said in interviews that for her, “being Latin American has become a force that many other people do not have. Being born in Latin America is one of the most important things about me.”

And she has sage advice for those that will come after: “For me, it’s very important to project myself towards excellence within an area, and if I don’t reach the highest point, I’m still close… if I don’t reach the moon, at least I’ll reach the stars. On the other hand, I once heard something I loved, and that applies to any career, including that of a violinist. It’s not about speed; it’s about endurance,” she said in an interview. 

To see Aisha Syed take the stage, and tackle the most important musical venues in the world, is to see a master at work. 

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