For the first time in eight years, Irving ISD has representation in one of the state’s most renowned orchestra pits.
Violinist Monica Limberg, a senior at MacArthur High School, earned a chair in the Texas Music Educators Association’s All-State Orchestra. More than 70,000 entries from across the state are submitted for a chair in the All-State orchestra, band and choir, yet only the top 2 percent are selected.
“Achieving membership in any Texas All-State ensemble is the most prestigious accomplishment possible for a music student in our state,” says Reagan Brumley, director performing arts for Irving ISD. “Monica Limberg’s All-State status is made even more remarkable by the fact that she earned the designation while auditioning on the instrument with the largest number of students vying for a spot in the All-State Orchestra, the violin.”
While prestigious, the honor is another accolade on an already impressive resume for Limberg, who grew up in an artistic family. Her mother is an accomplished classical pianist; her sister is a vocalist and painter; her grandfather is a professional pianist; and her grandmother is a professional painter.
“I became interested in many forms of art growing up,” she says.
She began studying ballet at Forcher’s Dance Center at 2 years of age and became a full company member of Momentum Dance Company in 2016. When she was 10, she began studying violin from Cornelia Demian, and now as a senior in high school is taking lessons from Barbara Allen, a member of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Opera Orchestra.
“From the time I was 13, I knew with certainty that music would be my career,” she says. “I attend as many concerts and operas as I can to hear live performances.”
Two years ago, she had the opportunity to perform a concerto with the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving and grew an interest in soloing. And the honors and recognitions continued to pour in.
A member of the MacArthur varsity orchestra since ninth grade, she has served as concertmaster and led the orchestra for the past two years in the annual UIL Orchestra Concert & Sight Reading Competition, winning sweepstakes in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
She earned the highest rating at Texas State Solo & Ensemble (TSSEC) in 2014 for violin solo and vocal solo; in 2015 and 2016 for violin solo and vocal ensemble; and in 2017 and 2018 for violin solo and quartet.
Limberg has won the Outstanding Performance in Music Theory award and scholarship for 2017 UTA Summer Strings camp, the 2018 Richard Giangiulio Youth Concerto Competition and the 2018 Lone Star Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition.
She has been a member of the All-Region Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lone Star Youth Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra at UTA Summer Strings Camp and the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, and she has served as concertmaster/associate concertmaster for the All-City Orchestra, the All-Region Symphonic Orchestra, the All-Region Honors Orchestra and the Interlochen Philharmonic Orchestra.
“Achieving associate concertmaster of the Region 20 Honors Orchestra last year was eye-opening,” Limberg says. “Working with brilliant people throughout the rehearsals and concerts improved my technique, musicality, leadership and social skills. I learned to rely more on confidence, adapting by letting go and just playing.”
Limberg spent last summer at Interlochen, a world-renowned art school and camp attended by many famous musicians including Leonard Bernstein, Joshua Bell, Josh Groban and Midori. She received a half scholarship in the amount of $4,700 dollars and had the honor of leading the Interlochen Philharmonic as Concertmaster. (Watch the finale concert here.)
“To go out every day and ask world-renowned conductors and musicians anything I wanted was awe-inspiring,” she says. “Most of all, it taught me how to work with people and be a leader. I now know that to be the best classical violinist I can be, I must be well-rounded and learn a variety of solo, chamber and orchestral repertoire. I want to pursue these and more areas of classical music.”
Limberg plans to audition at Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University, Cleveland Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, Indiana Jacobs School of Music and Mannes School of Music.
“Gaining an All-State spot is only possible for students who possess the highest degree of natural ability, work ethic and long-term planning – all traits that are indicative of maturity far beyond Monica’s years,” says Brumley. “This accomplishment is also a badge of honor for the MacArthur High School Orchestra program and its director, Ms. Stephanie Sunder, and will make Monica a role model for years to come not only at MacArthur, but in music programs throughout Irving ISD as all of our students see that anything is possible for them in this district.”