17-year-old violinist Vibha Janakiraman performed Kreisler at the welcome ceremony

Official White House photographer Carlos Vazquez II

Photo: Official White House photographer Carlos Vazquez II

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From 20–24 June, the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, Narendra Modi, undertook a US state visit. The official welcome ceremony took place at the White House on 22 June, hosted by US President and first lady, Joe and Jill Biden, as well as the US Vice President and second gentleman, Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff.

Musical performances featured before the welcoming ceremony, including a performance from 17-year-old violinist Vibha Janakiraman, a US Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She performed Fritz Kreisler’s Recitativo and Scherzo. Hailing from West Chester, Pennsylvania, Janakiraman graduated from the Juilliard School’s pre-college division earlier this year. She has performed as a soloist with many orchestras in the Philadelphia region. She will begin her bachelor’s degree at Juilliard in the autumn, studying with Catherine Cho and Itzhak Perlman. She currently plays on a 1855 J.B. Vuillaume, on loan through the Tarisio Trust. 

In a tweet, first lady Jill Biden said about the event: ‘Vibha honoured her cultural connection to Western classical and South Indian classical music for guests at the White House.’

About the experience, Janakiraman told The Strad, ‘It was such a privilege to play at the White House and to be a representation of Indian Americans everywhere! I had the most inspiring view: the Jefferson Memorial directly in front of me and the Washington monument off to the side. I tried to soak in every moment of that experience, using silences between phrases to allow the beautiful location to be a part of my music making. I will treasure this forever, and I am so grateful to the people and mentors that made this possible.’