11-YEAR-OLD VIOLINIST & PHILANTHROPIST
At only eleven (11) years old, Brianna just finished her second year at The Juilliard School in New York City. As she walks across a stage, however, there are no discernible differences between Brianna and the rest of her fifth-grade classmates. She is eager, happy and diminutive. Of course, it's always easy to point Brianna out once she has her violin in hand. The pièce de résistance occurs the moment she begins to play and her undeniable talent takes over. Eyes closed, fingers deftly dancing up and down the violin's neck, she makes the bow glide across the strings. The resulting sound pours forth, with unyielding grace and energy, music which seems incapable of coming from a mere 11-year-old who is playing only a 3/4-size violin.
Hailing her as a "violin prodigy," Oprah named Brianna one of the world's most talented and amazing kids of all-time. Recognized for her amazing talent as well as her unprecedented philanthropic efforts, Brianna was chosen by Oprah to perform in the widely-celebrated grand finale episode of the show in Oprah's lauded farewell season before an admiring audience which showered Brianna with double standing ovations.
In addition to also being hailed a "prodigy" by The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, Brianna was profiled on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, was featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, performed as a special guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and has appeared in countless other television shows and news features. Brianna is further very honored to have been named Head of VH1 Save The Music Foundation’s Student Advocate Program as well as a celebrity patron for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
At just eleven (11) years old, Brianna's performances exemplify extraordinary talent, boundless imagination and rigorous commitment. A born performer, Brianna relishes playing for audiences – the larger the better. And anyone who has ever seen Brianna perform will attest that she doesn't just play a piece; she performs it, bringing both passion and emotion to her music so it becomes vibrant and alive for her audiences, which revel in sheer delight.
Brianna continues to wow audiences and has performed for countless famous musicians, including iconic violinists Itzhak Perlman, Ida Haendel, Joshua Bell and Arnold Steinhardt of the renowned Guarnieri String Quartet, as well as celebrities and dignitaries including President Bill Clinton and the incomparable composer himself, 15-time Grammy award winner David Foster, who hailed Brianna as "one of the next big talents."
How did it all begin? When her parents discovered her natural affinity for classical music and the violin at the tender age of three (3), Brianna was given her first violin – a 1/16-size instrument – and began exploring the fullness of her talent as a student at a local conservatory of music. Classically-trained using modified Suzuki methodology, Brianna stunned her audience by flawlessly performing her pieces with perfect intonation at her very first recital. She had only just turned four (4) years old.
Brianna’s instructors quickly discovered that she embodies the elements required for greatness. Not only does she possess a photographic memory, an amazing ear and finger dexterity far beyond her years, but she is also blessed with "perfect pitch" – the ability to identify a musical note without the benefit of a known reference -- possessed by only a small percentage of the population, but by most all of the world's greatest musicians. As a result, Brianna devours music, memorizing complex selections in just days.
How does she do what she does? A good question; but difficult to answer. When first picking up violin and bow, Brianna used to say, "I take a picture of the notes in my mind and play them as they go past." Years later, the responses are more complex. Some music is felt. Some is heard. At other times, it is pure imagination.
Brianna maintains an extensive repertoire of both classical and popular pieces, and is extremely passionate about using her talent to help others in any way she can. Indeed, her intense passion for performing the violin is matched only by her passion for giving back. Hesitant to ever use the word "prodigy" to describe herself, this modest, altruistic little girl much prefers a different "p" word -- "philanthropy." Considered one of the world's youngest philanthropists, Brianna is trying to heal the world, in her own words, “one song at a time.” She has attached her musical gifts to acts of kindness and performances at fundraisers to help raise over nineteen (19) million dollars for charities that have touched her heart, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the American Heart Association, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, Starkey Hearing Foundation, Childhelp and the Miami Children's Hospital Foundation, to just name a few. Notably, Brianna has established The Brianna Kahane Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, in her continued endeavor to heal the world one song at a time so that any money she earns from her blossoming career can be designated to her foundation in order to provide donations and grants to charities and notable causes. In Brianna's own words, "I love to play the violin because music touches the soul and can make the world a better place."
At The Juilliard School, Brianna studies with Hyo Kang and I Hao Lee. Mr. Kang's former students include Sarah Chang and Gil Shaham, among countless others, and he himself studied with the renowned Dorothy DeLay.
Brianna is honored to currently be the youngest recipient of an instrument from the Stradivari Society in Chicago. She is playing a three-quarter-sized violin made by Antonio Gragnani of Livorno, Italy in 1790.
To envision where Brianna ultimately expects to be, look to her inspirations. Itzhak Perlman. Hilary Hahn. Sarah Chang. Midori. Gil Shaham. Iconic violinists, all.
Make way for one more.