Ade Williams began violin lessons at age three, but that’s not what her mother wanted. “Mom tried to find a teacher for me when I was two, but no teacher would take me,” she laughs. “At my first recital, I was playing Twinkle. I held the last note for a really long time. Mom says that’s when she knew I was into it.” Ade’s the featured artist in “Around the World with Music” on Sunday, March 17, the final offering in Ann Arbor Symphony’s Family Concert Series season.
A2F: What’s it like being a 15-year-old professional musician?
Ade: Super, super exciting! I fly in to the city where I’m scheduled, I do outreach programs in the schools, I might have multiple rehearsals, I do the concert. I might have back-to-back concerts. Then I get up super early the next day and it starts over again.
A2F: When do you sleep?
Ade: Not long ago, I had to sleep in an airport!
A2F: Yikes. Didn’t that make it hard to perform the next night?
Ade: Well, fortunately I was playing the same program I’d played the night before so it was already in my fingers. I was tired, but, I don’t know, somehow I was refreshed and I did two outreaches that day and a performance that night. I think a lot of times I just work off adrenalin and excitement. I love it!
A2F: How about school?
Ade: I’ve been homeschooled since 2nd grade; most of my work is books, but I’ve started doing some of it online. When I have a heavy performing schedule, sometimes I even forget what my room looks like! Then I’ll come home and have a stack of assignments to wade through. But it’s cool because I’m really on my own schedule. The work has to get done, so I set deadlines and it gets done.
A2F: What’s your practice schedule?
Ade: I don’t get to practice much when I’m performing, because I have to spend a lot of time on planes and in schools and stuff. So I really look forward to when I get a good 4 or 5-hour practice session in.
A2F: Five hours??
Ade: At least! It’s fun! The great thing about getting to a certain level is that you can really practice a lot of different music. If I had to practice the same thing over and over, it would be super boring, but now I can work an hour on some Mozart and then switch to Vivaldi or Ravel. My teacher assigns me a couple of concertos and a bunch of sonatas, so all that variety is really cool.
A2F: Do you have a favorite composer?
Ade: I’ve always loved the romantic era, you know, Tchaikovsky, Brahams, Schubert. I love baroque music; I just played The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, and then of course the classical period and Mozart. Oh, and the 20th century composers like Ravel, Debussy, and—you know, I just love all classical music.
A2F: How old should kids be when they go to concerts?
Ade: Babies! Or younger! You can hear music when you’re still inside your mom.
A2F: Any violin heroes?
Ade: My teacher, Rachel Barton-Pine. And Itzhak Perlman. I mean, like, of course.
A2F: What’s your dream place to perform?
Ade: Well, I’ve performed at Carnegie Hall as part of the orchestra [as a member of the Sphinx Virtuosi, a conductor-less ensemble comprised of alumni from the Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players]. But I’d love to solo there. Ooh! And the Sydney Opera House! That would be awesome!
Ade Williams and Around the World with Music, Sunday, March 17, 4 pm. Tickets: $12 adult, $8 children. Michigan Theater, 603 East Liberty St.