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Rising Stars: Meet Belinda Niling Stohner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Belinda Niling Stohner.

Hi  Belinda Niling Stohner, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m a professional violinist. I freelance around South Florida with my quartet Baby B Strings, and I also teach music. I was born and raised in a very small town in Kansas but have been living in Miami for nearly 20 years. I’ve always felt like somewhat of a misfit, so I’ve tried to use that as my super power in all my projects. I’m also obsessed with cooking and baking.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
When I first came to Miami, I realized how little I actually knew. There were people my age who were way better musicians than me. I had a lot of catching up to do, and arguably, I’m still trying to catch up.

Shortly after I finished college, someone stole my car with my purse and my violin in it. I was really naive to have left all those things in my car in what was probably not a great corner of town. But also, I was young and those three items were the only things of value that I owned. Although I know I am fortunate enough that my family and friends would never have let me starve or go homeless, I really had to bust my butt for quite a few years (this was right at the start of the recession, no less) to be able to buy myself another decent violin and a car. I am very grateful for my friends who let me borrow stuff and clients who were very understanding of my situation. My violin was never recovered, but my car was trashed and found a month later with music scores still inside. Honestly, the scores would have been one of the biggest permanent losses for me. If you’re a musician, you know that you can never get your notes and scribbles back. It was a really terrible thing to go through, but I came out a much stronger person on the other side

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Baby B Strings is known for finding creative ways to include string music in people’s lives. That might mean collaborating with other artists, poets, musicians or performing somewhere unexpected like a hospital, library, or a homeless shelter. We also play a lot of non-classical music, like rock, jazz, tangos, etc. Of course, we also do all the more typical performances like weddings and corporate events, but I really try to make an effort to look outside of that box.

In recent years we’ve taken on more creative projects. One is a fun educational series called “Musical Fairytales”, which are pieces for orchestra and narrator, and combines classical music with fairy tales. It’s very much inspired by Disney’s Fantasia and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. We’ve also been collaborating with other Miami artists to create animated films with music and original poetry. Our collective is called B.O.K Suite. There’s so much talent in this city — it’s really been a joy to collaborate with artists from different disciplines and feel like we’re making something that’s bigger than ourselves.

What matters most to you? Why?
I try to work hard and enjoy life every single day. I think a lot about my parents’ struggle in coming to America and know how many things had to go right in order for me to be here and live the fortunate life that I do. Life is short, so we should just try to have as much fun as we can while we’re here. And be a good person.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Fernando Coipel for cello/violin recording studio photo Cristina Isabel Rivera for all other photos “Light” movie poster by Karla Caprali

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