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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A teenager from Southwest Philadelphia will be taking her talent across the pond to study at one of the most prestigious music schools in the world, The Royal College of Music in London.
At just 18 years old, Akili Farrow has graced Philly’s biggest stages with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. Now, she and her violin are getting ready to take on the world’s biggest stages. Her first stop will be Carnegie Hall as a member of the esteemed National Youth Orchestra.
“Playing at Carnegie Hall is a very big deal for any musician and being invited there this summer is a dream come true,” Farrow said.
It’ll be a summer full of dreams come true for the recent Philadelphia Performing Arts String Theory Charter School graduate. She’ll tour Asia with NYO before starting her studies at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London in the fall.
“When I was younger, my cousin Michael came to our house and I told him and my mom that one day I’ll move to London and they both joked about it because they were like, ‘Oh, that’s crazy!'”
Years later, what her family deemed crazy will soon be her reality. She’s more inspired than ever, following the scene-stealing performance of cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason at the May wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
“Just being African-American, and having this talent, something that’s not really shown in the African-American community,” she said.
The daughter of immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago, she honed her performing chops at Carnival.
“I used to go on stage in a costume and dance in front of everyone,” Farrow said. “So I feel like performing came from that pretty early.”
But the violin didn’t come along until the fifth-grade, thanks to Play On, Philly!, an intensive, tuition-free music education program at her middle school.
“As soon as I started playing the violin, I wanted to play more,” Farrow said.
She practices at least two to three hours each day, but somehow still finds time for another passion, photography. Her family, teachers and friends at String Theory often serve as her photography subjects.
From Farrow’s point of view, there are no limits.
“Don’t shy away from something that seems so impossible to achieve because honestly, anything is possible in this world if you believe hard enough and work hard enough,” she said.
Farrow’s ultimate goal is to be in the Philadelphia Orchestra, which at the rate she’s going, she’s well on her way.