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Kayla Bryan: Scholarship Recipient Changing the Face of Classical Music

This week, we interviewed violinist and 2018 Scholarships in the Arts recipient, Kayla Bryan, to learn about her journey as an artist since graduating high school.

Bryan has an impressive resume, studying under the instruction distinguished violinists Elmar Oliveira and Ilya Kaler at the Lynn Conservatory and Cleveland Institute of Music. She has dedicated herself to her craft, and shows not only passion for the violin but for music itself. She describes music as a "universal language," but acknowledges the elitism present in the world of classical music. Thus, Bryan is working towards a future where classical music can be accessable for everyone, regardless of economic background.

Below is the full Interview with Kayla Bryan:

SAA: How has the support from Shoreline Arts Alliance helped you get to where you are now?

Kayla: “The financial support of this scholarship made my undergraduate career easier to adjust to. For example, I didn't have to worry about starting the year off paying for my plane ticket and new sheet music with money out of my savings! With this support, I was able to put more time into practicing my instrument instead of working long hours. The talk with the given mentor from my scholarship, Elena Urioste, also helped answer many of my questions regarding what the future may look like, how to best use my time in school, and what sort of mindset I should keep to stay both content and motivated."

SAA: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Kayla: “I am an artist that enjoys collaboration and tries to reach out to as many people as possible through my art form. I’ve come to realize just how much of an impact music has on those around us, and it is important to always keep those relationships in mind.”

SAA: How has your artistic journey been through college? How has it evolved since high-school?

Kayla: "I just started my Master of Music degree at Cleveland Institute of Music where I study with Ilya Kaler. It has been quite a journey to get here. I studied at Lynn Conservatory with Elmar Oliveira for my undergraduate degree (both because it was free tuition and because I looked up to my world-renowned teacher). After coming this far in my musical journey (though it is just the beginning of what is to come), I have been exposed to many viewpoints regarding the arts and what a career in the arts means. In high school, my idea was to just become the best violinist I could and perform at the highest level possible. While this is still true, I am realizing that there is much more to music than just playing your notes the best you can. It is incredibly important to think about what audiences you want to reach and how to do so."

Kayla Bryan performing at the Scholarships in the Arts Top Talent Celebration, 2018

SAA: What do the arts mean to you?

Kayla: "Going along with what I said previously, the arts are something we like to think of as available to anyone; everyone can appreciate this universal 'language.' However, in reality, not everyone has access to the arts or feels like they can take part in some way if they aren’t trained in whatever art form it may be. Classical music in particular has often been, and still is, considered an elitist art form, and that is something I believe we musicians have the responsibility of changing. The arts can be something that we all can universally appreciate, but we must take steps toward reaching out to more people and different audiences, both in terms of music education and performances."

SAA: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Kayla: "Whether it be during my breaks or if I return to the shoreline after I complete school, I hope to perform back home! I keep an eye out for an emerging concert series or any performances here and there. I appreciate what Guilford and the surrounding areas have done to support me musically growing up, and I hope to give back to the community with what I have gained through my higher education."

You can watch Kayla’s senior recital on her YouTube channel, where she will continue to post all future performances.

Senior recital link from April 2022:

More recent performances will be here:

You can support artists like Kayla through donating to our Scholarship and Mentorship Program. For more information, click here.


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