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Orem violinist named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts

By Braley Dodson daily Herald - | Jun 2, 2016
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Orem Student named presidental scholar 01
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Aubree Oliverson poses for a portrait at her home in Orem on Friday, May 27, 2016. Oliverson, a senior at Mountain Heights Academy has received the honor of be a presidential scholar for playing the violin. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Aubree Oliverson practices violin with her family at her home in Orem on Friday, May 27, 2016. Oliverson, a senior at Mountain Heights Academy has received the honor of be a presidential scholar for playing the violin. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Aubree Oliverson practices violin with her family at her home in Orem on Friday, May 27, 2016. Oliverson, a senior at Mountain Heights Academy has received the honor of be a presidential scholar for playing the violin. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

Violinist Aubree Oliverson isn’t a stranger to being recognized at the national level for her musical ability. But this time, it’s different.

Oliverson, whose family lives in Orem, attends the Colburn Music Academy in Los Angeles, and was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. She just completed her senior year at Mountain Heights Academy, an online Utah charter school.

Up to 161 seniors are selected as scholars each year. They are chosen based on a variety of factors, including superior academic and artistic achievement, community involvement and having strong character.

Oliverson is one of four Utah scholars and the only one in Utah County to receive the honor this year. She is the only violinist named as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

“So many people deserved it,” Oliverson said. “All of those semifinalists are amazing people.”

This month the scholars will travel to Washington, D.C., for a recognition program. While there, Oliverson will perform with the 20 arts scholars at a collaborative performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Oliverson, who moved to Los Angeles at 15 to study at the Colburn Music Academy and plans to continue her education at the Colburn Conservatory of Music, said the recognition is different from her past accomplishments because it goes beyond performance ability and includes areas such as academics and community service. The long, competitive application process included letters of recommendation, essays and performances. Students have to be invited to apply.

“It’s a huge honor,” said Stephen Oliverson, her father.

Her numerous musical achievements include soloing at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall at 12, soloing with the Utah Symphony at 11 and releasing multiple albums.

“She’s a great composer and an excellent player,” her father said. “Some call her a modern Mozart.”

Oliverson, who started playing at 6, said she took a risk by infusing some creativity into her application. For those who have been invited to apply, she recommends it.

“If you get candidacy for presidential scholar, put everything into it,” she said.

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