Nora Scheller has been impressing audiences ever since she first picked up a violin around the age of 4.
By the time she was 6, Scheller's instructor at the Mankato Suzuki School of Music, Patti Tryhus, decided the unusually composed and determined pupil was ready for note-reading. By the time Scheller was 7, Tryhus said she could tell the youngster had a "special facility" for her instrument.
Before she was even a teenager, Scheller began playing with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra. And before she was legally able to drive, she earned the role of assistant concertmaster with the MSO.
In 2010, she was selected by the prestigious New York String Orchestra Seminar to participate in a 10-day workshop that culminated with performances in Carnegie Hall. After that, she gained entrance into the Jacobs Schools of Music at Indiana University and has continued to bolster her performance resume as a substitute with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and as a concertmaster for the Aspen Chamber Symphony.
Scheller will add another bullet point to that resume on Saturday when she performs at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of a recital by top students in Indiana's music school.
"I was thrilled," said Scheller about being selected to give one of the school's three performances, all three of which will be streamed live on the Kennedy Center website. "I'm honored to do anything to help the school that has given me so much and has helped shape my musicianship."
Scheller will play both of her pieces — Claude Debussy's "Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor" and Gabriele Faure's "Apres un Reve" — with piano accompaniment provided by fellow student Jooeun Pak.
Scheller characterized the pieces, which she selected herself, as energetic, nuanced and "blossoming with color."
"I'm always challenged when I play something," she said. "And the challenge is to somehow make it new for me every time I play."
Already comfortable with the technical skills required for the pieces, Scheller said much of her time has been devoted to working on the interpretations of the music.
"The musical decisions I make are based off the score itself," she said. "I'm thinking about tempo, articulation and what the composer wants."
As for the performance itself, it will be held in the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, which was constructed in the late 1970s as a bicentennial gift from the people of Japan to the United States. The venue seats 513 for performances of chamber music, ballet and contemporary dance and theater.
And though Scheller has performed in some of the country's most hallowed musical halls, she said those previous experiences mean little in preparation for her next performance.
"What helps me prepare," she said, "is the fact that I know (the venue) will be packed. And most people in the audience will be very knowledgeable arts patrons."
If You Watch What Live stream of Nora Scheller's performance at the Kennedy Center (as well as other performers) When 5 p.m. on Saturday; Scheller opens the performance Where www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium/