Music for Youth will begin its 2011 season of free Young Persons' Concerts with a performance by Siberian violinist Mikhail Simonyan at 2 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Pequot Library.

Simonyan, who is in his early 20s, hails from Novosibirsk, the same city Vadim Repin and Maxim Vengerov call home, and began violin study at age 5. Having moved to the U.S. to study at the Curtis Institute at the age of 13, Simonyan made his debut in New York at Lincoln Center performing the Szymanowski Violin Concerto No. 1, and has won numerous international music prizes. He was invited by HRH Prince Charles to perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto at Windsor Castle, and will be returning to the U.K. to perform at Buckingham Palace, both with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

The violinist recently launched "Beethoven Not Bullets" to assist the new Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul. He is working to raise funds to sponsor students at the Institute, the only music school in Afghanistan. ANIM's mission is to educate a new generation of musicians regardless of ethnicity or gender, revitalizing music in Afghanistan and restoring it as a cultural voice.

Simonyan continues to study with Victor Danchenko in the United States and lives in New York. He plays a Giuseppe Gagliano violin made in Naples in 1769.

After the concert, Simonyan will offer free master classes. To register, call 203-938-3843 or e-mail

The Young Persons' Concerts will continue throughout the spring season with four more offerings:

l Feb. 19, concert and master classes by the Brasil Guitar Duo;

l March 12, concert and master classes by violinist Ray Chen;

l April 9, the Gamelan Orchestra and Wayang Puppets of Indonesia;

l May 7, concert and master classes by percussionist Svet Stoyanov

For more information about Music for Youth and its free Young Persons' Concerts, go to or call 203-227-1611.