Although she has performed with prestigious orchestras around the world, Joan Kwuon is looking forward to her upcoming concert in Santa Monica with particular enthusiasm.

After all, it’s where the makings of her musical career were established.

The Crossroads School alumna will be the featured violinist in the Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestrashow at 8 p.m. Friday, June 12, at New Roads School.

“Whenever I go back to that area, I’m filled with so much gratitude and so much pride,” said Kwuon, who is now splits time between New York City and Cleveland. “I’m really excited.”

Kwuon’s engagement comes as the doctors symphony celebrates its 25th season with director Ivan Shulman, who spearheads a musically gifted group of doctors and other medical professionals that has been around since 1953.

The free concert at Moss Theater will also feature children involved with Harmony Project, which provides free instruments and music education to public school students in underserved communities.

It’s a program that resonates with Kwuon, who was introduced to the violin as a Los Angeles Unified School District student when she was 6 years old.

“I can’t imagine having lived my life without music — and it came by way of exactly that type of exposure,” she said. “You never know where your next inspired performer or composer is going to come from.

“I think music gives young kids a focus that inspires creativity and concentration. It’s an outlet and a form where they can watch their own progress and feel like they’re a part of a community. All of those things can lead to so many different great things in life. Regardless of whether you become a professional musician, I think it’s really important.”

Kwuon first became fascinated by the violin during in-school sessions with Nora Graham, then a traveling music teacher and a former member of the doctors symphony.

As Kwuon remembers it, Graham would cue up recordings of orchestral pieces on a record player in the auditorium and hold up large flashcards with pictures of instruments.

“I was so intrigued by the violin sound,” she said. “They found an instrument that was small enough for me, and that was it — I was hooked.”

Kwuon later applied to Crossroads after seeing a newspaper article about the school, and she received a scholarship to continue her musical pursuits. For five years her mother drove her daily from their home in Los Feliz to the campus in Santa Monica.

Kwuon then studied music at Indiana University, the Juilliard School and the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she is now a faculty member. But she credits Crossroads for giving her a head start in the demanding discipline.

“It was eye-opening being around other young players who were just as focused,” said Kwuon, who graduated from the private school in the late 1980s. “I realized there was so much more to learn. I was so fortunate to be exposed to the training at that age. It was a very rigorous program. One of the most important turning points for me was being at Crossroads.”

At the doctors symphony concert Kwuon will deliver a rendition of German composer Max Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy,” an 1880 piece whose themes are derived from folk melodies and offer examples of cross-cultural art in a pre-YouTube world.

“It has a far reach,” Kwuon said. “It’s an opportunity for me to explore those melodies and what that was all about.”

Kwuon has performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra as well as the Tokyo-based NHK Symphony Orchestra and Moscow State Radio Symphony, among others.

But she said there’s a common thread in any concert she plays — regardless of the size of the venue or the prestige of the performing body.

“There’s that moment where the music comes to life,” she said. “There is always that amazing spontaneity and energy and excitement, which keeps me going. It makes it feel very alive. It’s art in a moment in time — you live it, and then the performance is over.”

Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, jeff@www.smdp.com or on Twitter.

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