In October 2014 HBO aired this segment of their Family Documentary Special on Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell. The piece highlights Bell’s experience with the National YoungArts Foundation and films the renowned musician as he mentors and performs with nine young string musicians in New York and London.
One of the nine is former Young Scholar and 2012 College Scholar Anna Litvinenko, an outstanding cellist from Florida.
The Cuban-Ukrainian grew up under two active musician parents in Miami and currently studies with Joel Krosnick at the Juilliard School in New York City. In addition to an impressive and lengthy CV, Anna received the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award in 2007 after appearing on From the Top, a weekly music program featured on NPR.
Anna was blown away when she got a call from YoungArts, asking her to be a part of the Bell documentary.
“I admit, I was pretty nervous for that first meeting and rehearsal” she said. “We were going to be working with this world-renowned artist—a figure we grew up hearing about and admiring as kids!”
Fortunately, though, the nerves didn’t last long, and the experience proved to be extremely valuable.
“It was not just a masterclass, where the guest artist merely critiqued us on our solo playing...I feel I learn the most from collaborations. Playing chamber music really makes you listen—it teaches you to put lines together, to react [musically] to what others say, to form valid arguments about how you think a phrase should be played."
“These past couple of years at Juilliard have opened my eyes to many new things, and I feel I have grown a lot in the process," she admitted. "I look back and see that I'm very happy, that I'm doing the things I love, that I'm living in one of the greatest cities. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has helped me be where I am today. I cannot express how grateful I am to have the Foundation in my life, supporting me since I was in the seventh grade. It has made so many things possible and accessible to me."
"Over the years, the Foundation has shown tremendous generosity—it has been dedicated to helping all of us students succeed and follow the paths we want to be on."
Anna will collaborate once more with YoungArts in January by working with artistic director Bill T. Jones and music director Jerome Begin on the foundation’s gala event.
You can watch a performance of Arpeggione Sonata by Anna and her mother, Sahily Canovas, on piano.