Getting classy with Zack Weese

Zack Weese, a Youngstown State University senior, studied Violin in Arcisdoso, Italy in summer 2012. Photo Courtesy of Zack Weese.
Zack Weese, a Youngstown State University senior, studied Violin in Arcisdoso, Italy in summer 2012. Photo Courtesy of Zack Weese.

For Youngstown State University music performance major Zack Weese, music means the world to him.

For the past 10 years, Weese has played the violin and has diligently practiced everyday, so he can fulfill his dreams of becoming a professional violin player.

Weese said he picked the violin for a reason of conformity.

“A group of my friends picked it, so I just went with it,” Weese said. “I also picked it, because I like how they usually have the melody in pieces.”

Once Weese entered high school, he began to get more serious about his music and earned assistant concertmaster in his high school symphony and chamber orchestras and also won the top senior solo placement for the spring orchestra concert in 2011.

“When I won the senior solo in high school, that’s when I knew I wanted to make music for a living,” Weese said. “I figured maybe I could make some money doing what I enjoy, and I already am!”

After enrolling at YSU in fall 2011, Weese has been involved in the Dana School of Music’s Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, the “Music at Noon” series at the Butler Museum of American Art, and study abroad programs in Arcidosso, Italy and Russia to develop more techniques that he may use in his future.

Weese said that traveling to Arcidosso for a two-week music festival was one of his favorite experiences so far as an aspiring musician.

“I loved every minute of it,” Weese said. “I met so many amazing instrumentalists and worked with some awesome teachers.”

Weese also said that some of his favorite experiences are when he has the chance to play with professional symphony orchestras such as the ones of Greenville and Warren and — most recently — the Akron Symphony Orchestra.

Weese said he wouldn’t be where he was today without the motivation of John Wilcox, director of the Dana Symphony, Opera and Chamber Orchestras and Richard Smrek, his youth symphony conductor.

“They have both done so much for me,” he said. “They do so much to keep me focused and couldn’t thank them enough.”

Patrick Strasik, a childhood friend and classmate of Weese, said Weese has worked tirelessly trying to pursue his goals and dreams of being a concert violinist.

“I think what makes him so successful isn’t his musical talent,” she said. “But it’s his ambition and work ethic which are both limitless.”

Strasik said that when Weese decided he wanted to study abroad in Russia, he began to study the Russian language. Within the course of a few months, Weese became proficient in Russian in both an oral and literary context.

“The future for a musician is daunting. No matter how fantastic you are at your craft, there is always someone better,” Strasik said. “But you don’t do it for the money — you do it because there is nothing else you would rather be doing. I think Zack discovered that before a lot of people.”

As for the future, Weese hopes to either become a soloist, chamber musician or a symphonic musician. Since being accepted into the St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, he hopes to learn more technical aspects to his playing ability.

“I hope to better my musicianship by taking lessons at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory,” he said. “I fee like life over there [Russia] may even be a great place for me to go to grad school. We will see where that takes me