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Neena Agrawal

2024 Viola

Neena Agrawal, 14, is a scholarship fellow at the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago, a precollege program for advanced string and piano students, where she studies viola with Sang Mee Lee. She began studying violin at age 4 and added viola at age 12. Neena is also a fellow of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, a scholarship and mentorship organization for classical musicians from underrepresented backgrounds.

Neena recently served as principal viola of the National Pathways Festival Orchestra, culminating in a performance with the Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero. In 2023, she was selected to participate in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Youth in Music Festival Honors Orchestra under Ken-David Masur. Neena currently performs with the Academy Chamber Orchestra as rotating principal and Northside College Prep’s Chamber Strings as principal. She previously performed with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras as concertmaster and principal.

This June, Neena will compete as one of six finalists in the American Viola Society Competition. Recent performances include Evanston’s Martin Luther King Day Celebration, MIC’s Reena Esmail Showcase Concert, CSS Young Artist Recital, and the Thirsty Ears Classical Music Festival. During past summers, she has attended Center Stage Strings and the Chicago Chamber Music Festival. She enjoys community and service performances and has performed at Lutheran Church of the Ascension, Ann Arbor Public Library, Hartwell Place Memory Care Unit, St. Paul House Nursing Home, and the Andersonville Farmer’s Market.

Neena has participated in masterclasses with Daniel Phillips, Caroline Coade, Eric Nowlin, Rachel Barton Pine, Desiree Ruhstrat, Marco Dreher, Sixto Franco, Elbert Tsai, Jennifer Frautschi, and the Formosa Quartet.

An avid chamber musician, currently Neena plays in a string trio and a string quartet. She has also performed in quartets, duos, and trios through the Music Institute of Chicago, Center Stage Strings, Chicago Chamber Music Festival, and Chicago Public Schools.

Outside of music, Neena has twice been a History Fair national participant and received top awards in City, Regional, and State Science Fairs. In her free time, Neena enjoys baking and drawing.