Maspeth native Adrianna Mateo is the jack of all trades when it comes to music – she can play the piano, the violin, the flute and she can sing.
Mateo said that her fate as a musician was sealed at a very young age.
“It’s kind of just a bunch of forces coming together,” she said “My parents were very good about bringing culture into the home, particularly music.”
When she was just four-years-old, Mateo said she even recalls tip-toeing in an effort to play the piano with her tiny fingers and becoming frustrated when she was too short to reach.
With such a strong connection to music so early on in her life, it came as no surprise to her or her family that she wanted to dedicate her life to the arts.
Although Mateo is primarily a violinist, she enjoys playing each of her instruments.
“When I was growing up and learning all these instruments and was going through these phases when one year or every two years, I would be completely obsessed with the piano and making incredible progress with that, and the other instruments were just floating along,” she said. “And I would cycle through each instrument. First it was flute, then it was violin and then it was piano and I came back to violin and that’s kind of what I stayed with.”
The reason she stuck with the violin, she said, was because it was an instrument where she was not limited by her physical attributes.
“When I was growing up [and playing piano], my hands weren’t very large and when you’re learning a classical repertoire, when you’re playing very large intervals, it’s really difficult, unreasonably difficult when you have small hands,” she said.
She encountered a similar problem with the flute.
“You have to take long phrases, you have to take a deep breath and when you’re 12, you can’t really play at the level of a 20-year-old because you don’t have the breath capacity, so I kept hitting a wall musically just because of that,” she said.
“That’s why I gravitated towards the violin – partly because of that and also because I always felt like I was more passionate about the sound of the violin. Plus, there’s something cool about being able to carry your instrument with you. It’s like a teddy bear.”
While Mateo does sometimes get asked to play classically, at roughly 90 percent of her shows, she plays newer classical, 21st century music. At just 23 years old, she has played at venues like Carnegie Hall, the Times Center and has toured multiple European countries.
“It’s amazing and humbling and once in a while it can be scary but it’s an amazing thing when you walk out on stage and the lights are on you,” she said.
Still, Mateo said, she’d much rather perform in an intimate setting.
“I love spaces where you can feel that personal connection,” she said. “Whether it’s an art gallery in Beacon or an open mic night, I love feeling close to my audience.”
For more information on Adrianna Mateo, visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Adrianna.mateo.violin. To listen to Mateo’s music, you may also visit her SoundCloud page at soundcloud.com/adriannamateo.