Jivan Ramesh has a record-breaking list of achievements that almost seems unreal at first glance. He played the cello at Carnegie Hall when he was five years old, making him the youngest string player to do so. He composes his own music, has a black belt in Karate, dabbles in computer programming, is fascinated by dinosaurs and wants to be a paleogeneticist when he grows up. But as you start looking closer, it becomes apparent that this isn’t just raw talent but also a lot of hard work and dedication.
Jivan also has a lot of support from his parents who have consistently encouraged him to follow his passions. Along with his family, Jivan moved from Ontario to New York where his parents felt Jivan had better opportunities in music, and also in some of his other interests such as science. He was sad to leave his friends behind but he’s had a chance to meet talented people and immerse himself in an environment that helps him fine-tune his talents. Jivan is 10 and completing courses with the University of Nebraska High School. He loves studying science and languages, and is looking forward to courses in biology, genetics and Latin.
"UNHS courses are self-paced so I have time to follow my non-academic passions like music and composing."Jivan
If you were to take a glance at Jivan’s music playlist, you would find an eclectic collection. He likes to shuffle between genres like Classical, Jazz, Klezmer (Music from Eastern Europe, popularized by Jewish troubadours), Indian, Chinese and the Blues. While sticking to a fixed schedule works for some of our students, Jivan prefers a more open-ended and flexible approach. He always has something to do each week, whether it be lessons and recitals to practice for, or tests and other projects to finish. He finds it easier to perform tasks as long as the days aren’t overwhelmingly packed.
"I love to do some school work, some karate and swimming, and some cello and composing every day, but it doesn't always turn out that way."Jivan
Being homeschooled, Jivan has a lot of opportunities, even during weekdays, to go on field trips. He got his black belt at a dojo in Canada and is currently searching for a place to train in New York. In the meantime, he’s reviewing his form and solidifying the basics.
The move to New York has clearly worked in his favor. He has had a chance to enter and win composition competitions against composers much older, and his music has been played by an orchestra at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and another composition is going to be premiered by an orchestra in St. Louis this spring.
Jivan’s also been featured in music videos and has played small roles in TV shows that are filmed in New York. In fact, Warner Bros. invited him and three other kids to meet actor Jason Momoa and actress Amber Heard from the movie Aquaman. UNHS, being self-paced and online, has given Jivan the flexibility to juggle multiple passions. Jivan has been able to do his coursework on the drive to the sets, and there is also usually a lot of time between takes that he puts to good use as well.
Taking courses with UNHS has not only allowed Jivan to stay on track academically, but he has also volunteered his time in areas like child literacy and music therapy for the elderly. He put in over 750 hours of volunteer work last year and has given some thought to taking a year off before college to spend time helping others. As someone who has already taken a string of AP courses and is currently earning university credits thanks to the dual enrollment partnership available between UNHS and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he has earned his time off should he choose to take it.
Did we mention he’s only 10? (And hung out with Aquaman!)
From playing Carnegie Hall to Bach in the Subways, to swimming, practicing karate and breaking new ground in acting, Jivan has a multitude of talents and untapped potential that he is keen to discover. His passion for music and his eagerness to take on new challenges are an inspiration to all, and we are all excited to see what awaits on his journey ahead.