Taegan Gandolfi Pushes the Limits

Teenage violinist mashes up a classic with modern radio hits.


Clay Vesser

Teagen Gandolfi

Taegan Gandolfi, a senior at Antioch Community High School, is bringing a new face to the classical scene of string music instruments. Combining the rock edge of electric guitar and the beautiful tones of violin, Gandolfi uses both elements, along with a soundboard, to blend together and introduce a different sound to the music industry.

Gandolfi was born into a musical family, with a father that grew passionate about the tuba and eventually became a national player and performed for multiple gigs across the country.

 “[My parents] were hoping that one of their children would love music just as much. When I came along, they were hoping that I would become a musician. I not only picked up my instrument, but my sister’s keyboard and brother’s guitar,” Gandolfi said.

Along with acquiring multiple skills and developing an ever-growing passion for violin, she diligently taught herself by ear (repetition of sounds and tones), a quite difficult task.

As a fourth grader, Gandolfi transitioned into playing electric violin as a creative way to enhance her beloved instrument. She, during her audiences for gigs and a TED talk, enjoyed how individualized and unique her violin had become.

This new style of playing has, most shockingly, been around since the mid 20th century. According to Delta Violin, a website dedicated to musical history and instruments, the electric violin was “…developed successfully in the 1930s and has gradually improved ever since. From Leo Fender’s work-bench, arguably the most perfected electric violin came after over a decade of development in 1958.”

This underground talent, resurfacing in the halls of ACHS, is becoming a notable part of music culture.

Such an exclusive instrument has not always been accepted into the musical world, especially in traditional high school music departments. Gandolfi ensures, “I wanted to bring modern day music into our department and have a chance to share it with others,” but recognizes, to her dismay, that our school may not be prepared to support this new instrument.

Even though she has experienced rejection, she continues to gain major success through her performances and personal talent gain, bringing a new vibe to the traditional violin.