top of page

Passion, vision and endurance, these three qualities in Michelle’s life that are ultimately brought her to the Sacramento Youth Symphony and the reason why she has been actively engaged serving SYS starting as a parent volunteer for 7 years and then later joining the Board.


Her passion to music lived inside her as much as she remembers it. When she was a little girl, she always dreamed of playing the piano. In her grandparent's apartment, they had a piano that was given to her mom by a Jewish neighbor, who loved to see her daughters learn music.

Growing up in the Soviet Union where music education was not available to every child, individuals were judged on musical ability. Sadly to Michelle she did not possess such abilities. This alone was enough to keep her away from the piano where she so desired to engage her fingers. Having a piano was a luxury not every family could enjoy. If someone did have one, it was a religious artifact. The rule was that you could only touch the piano if you had musical skills and educated to play it.

The piano was always locked, leaving Michelle no opportunity to touch it’s keys. During moments when no one was in the room, she would quietly sneak in, sit at the piano and play on top of the cover the greatest symphony she could imagine. Years passed and she no longer envisioned an opportunity for connecting with the music. Little did she know then that music would play a special part in her future and that one day it would spread its wings and soar into higher realms she could not possibly imagine.

One day Michelle’s passion to music revealed in her daughter who started showing her musical abilities and expressed the desire to learn playing violin. This was the beginning of a great journey into music path - a journey full of adventure. The turning point on this path came when her daughter set her foot into the Sacramento Youth Symphony's Summer Chamber Music Workshop where she was given a full scholarship. She never saw so many kids who played their instruments so well, having been coached by professional musicians. This was a thrilling experience for her little daughter, who within this fertile musical environment decided to keep working hard and advance in her music. She wanted to excel, because at the Youth Symphony she was exposed to great music that required advanced skills. It is where she also found a true joy in friendship. Through the Sacramento Youth Symphony, her daughter had many enriching opportunities not only to play some of the world's best music but to play it with many accomplished musicians from the USA and abroad. Arising from this grand preparation came her greatest reward—the day she was able to play Shostakovich's D major concerto on the stage of Carnegie Hall as a first place winner of an International Music Competition.

Michelle’s passion towards music with the strong endurance and determination to help her daughter to receive a professional advancement in music later on opened up a new vision in her heart. This vision is to be part of the preservation of classical music for the future generations together with a likeminded passionate and giving people.

Her life story is a witness that everything is possible when you decide to walk on a path of your vision. Then girded with the passion in your heart and with the endurance of pressing on towards your goal - man is capable to achieve beautiful things in life.

Michelle Kaphar

bottom of page