The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student Artist Spotlight: Violinist Maria Soukup ’26 on her love for ‘shared language’ of playing

Maria Soukup ’26 is trained in playing classical music on the violin. (Photo courtesy of Rae Shepard ’26)

Maria Soukup ’26 has been playing the violin since she was seven years old. She picked out a violin in the store when she was young and never looked back.

“I also just find music a very valuable thing for myself. It’s just something that brings me a lot of joy,” Soukup said.

Soukup was involved in music programs in middle and high school, and when she decided to come to Lafayette, she knew she wanted to continue pursuing music in college, particularly by joining the orchestra.

“It was [a] part of my life [I] couldn’t leave behind,” Soukop said.

Soukup is trained in playing classical music and especially enjoys playing pieces from the Romantic period and the 20th century. Although Soukup is only a first-year, she is the associate concertmaster for the orchestra, meaning that she assists the concertmaster by helping inform her section of certain techniques the conductor wants for performances and running rehearsals.

“I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities for leadership. Especially as a first-year, I think that’s really special,” Soukup said.

Soukup’s upcoming performance will be a concerto by the composer Felix Mendelssohn. At this performance, she will primarily be playing alone but will also be accompanied by the remainder of the orchestra.

Soukup cited the community and many opportunities she has had throughout her first year as some of her favorite aspects of the orchestra. She also really enjoys learning the different pieces of music not only in the orchestra, but in the different ensembles she is a part of at Lafayette, and said she is passionate about being able to adjust to different types of music, enjoying the responsibility of learning a variety of pieces.

“It’s also a really great community of friends. I think we’ve all gotten to know each other a lot over these couple semesters and I’ve found some people that I can really trust and make music with, so that’s been really amazing,” Soukup said.

Soukup also noted that her position and experience have helped to improve her sight reading skills, making it easier for her to play an even larger variety of music.

While her career in music is still in its early stages, Soukup is already beginning to think about her future with the violin. Though she does not plan on going into the music industry, Soukup does not want to stop playing music, and she hopes to find many different opportunities after college to continue playing.

Soukup will be in multiple upcoming performances this semester at the Williams Center for the Arts. The orchestra will be performing at 3 p.m. on April 30, the Contemporary Music Ensemble will be performing tonight at 8 p.m., the Honors Recital will be performing on May 5 at 8 p.m. and the Marquis Consort will perform on May 7 at 3 p.m. Tickets can be reserved at

“I hope it’s a part of my life I can always enjoy,” Soukup said. “Wherever you go, [playing music] is always the same. It’s pretty much a shared language … It’s a really great common language that I think is super neat.”

Natalia Ferruggia ’26 contributed reporting.

Correction 05/03/2023: A previous version of this article misspelled the surname of Rae Shepard ’26 in the photo attribution. It was misspelled as “Shepherd.”

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