"No one in my family was really a musician," says Lev. "My grandmother had a cello in her house. I always liked to just play around with it and pluck the strings." Eventually, he started taking lessons when he was "around three and a month."
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[01:00:03:18] LEV: I'm Lev Mamuya, and I'm 14. I'm a big Red Sox fan, as well as all Boston sports teams. No one in my family was really a musician. My grandmother had a cello just in her house. I always liked to just play around with and pluck the strings. It became something that I was very interested in. Eventually I started taking lessons when I was around 3 and a month. I first learned about 'From the Top' on the radio when it was just a radio show. On Sundays, we all used to listen to it, usually around dinnertime. It was just a kind of a family thing.
[01:00:55:01] Radio presenter: From NPR, it's 'From the Top,' celebrating the energy of America's kids and the power of classical music.
LEV: And then when the TV show started on PBS, we would, every week we would watch the episodes, I think I've seen all the episodes.
Show host: From Linden, Utah, please welcome 15-year-old flutist Helen Magar.
LEV: I thought these kids who were appearing on the show, they were very good at music, pretty cool kids, maybe I want to do that one day.
'From the Top' I think is what inspired me to work hard. I started to say well maybe if I work really hard, maybe I could do this, just like the kids I've heard.
[01:01:38:05] 'From the Top' had auditions in Boston, and I went in and I had an audition, and I got in. They asked me if I'd like to be in the TV show in Carnegie Hall in New York. I heard the names of all the big performers playing at Carnegie Hall, its just kind of like the Mecca for musicians. When I found out I was going to be on the show, it was exciting for me. It was a couple of months off from when they told us, so I had a couple of months to prepare. It really inspired me to want to do well on the show because it's really a chance for you to show everyone what you're capable of doing.
[01:02:15:27] Show host: Welcome to the stage from Massachusetts, 11-year-old cellist, Lev Mamuya.
LEV: When I walked out, I had a big smile on my face. That was probably the moment, I think, where I was a little bit nervous.
Show host: You're in New York, my friend, this is a Red Sox hat.
LEV: So what?
Show host: Alright, before we get killed, what are we gonna play together?
LEV: With every performance, a lot of things are going through my mind: you know you can do this, but also don't mess up.
At the beginning of the performance especially was like: oh my god I'm playing in Carnegie Hall. And eventually, I just kind of settled into it.
[01:03:10:28] That performance was one of the first really big performances for me.
I think that was the best moment for me when I just finished my performance because a lot of people were applauding, and it was a gratifying moment. Not a lot of 11-year-olds get to play at Carnegie Hall, and I think that experience for me, made me realize that I really, really, really want to do it, and you devote everything you have into it, I know it sounds really cheesy, but you can do it.
Playing on the show not only motivated me to work harder, it made me want to spread my music with different people, different audiences.
[01:03:57:25] I'm in a quartet right now that has it's concerts in nursing homes, and I play in the hospice. I definitely think that there is a need for WGBH, because I think it's one of the most culturally emerging stations there is, and it exposes children as well as adults to good ideas. Without WGBH, the world would be just a lot less fun for people of all ages.
Being at Carnegie Hall for me was one of the most exciting things I've done up till now. I really hope to play at Carnegie Hall again.
I definitely think music will be a part of my life for my whole life.