Born in Chicago and raised there and in Bloomington, Ind., Tai Murray lived in New York while attending the Juilliard School and now lives in Berlin. The young violinist said she does an "exceptional amount of flying. I have lots of frequent flyer miles," she said.
She'll collect a few more frequent flyer miles when she arrives in Columbus to play with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra on Saturday.
Just before she turned 3, Murray heard the violin for the first time, she said.
"I apparently became obsessed with it," Murray said.
Growing up in Chicago as one of six children being raised by a single mother, there wasn't a lot of spending money but Murray started taking violin lessons when she turned 5.
"I got my wish," she said.
When she was 7, her family bought her a $1,600 violin and bow.
"It was something my family was able to provide for me," she said.
While she's proud of her accomplishments, Murray doesn't like to dwell on the fact she's one of very few African American classical musicians.
Her mother Ellen Murray told Ebony magazine, "Playing the violin is a very expensive endeavor, which is why you don't see many black violinists. It takes the efforts of the whole family to help us in this endeavor. It takes a village to raise a black violinist."
Murray said early in her career her family spent about $30,000 a year for Murray's schooling and travel and performance costs.
When she was young she often borrowed violins from other musicians or music stores to play during performances.
Murray now plays a Giovanni Tononi instrument, built around 1690. A patron donated the use of the instrument, she said.
She loves this violin.
"There is a certain depth to it," Murray said. "An instrument that has been around for almost 400 years, probably has almost an infinite amount of different voices."
Murray recently released a new CD that includes six sonatas written by Eugene Ysaye.
"He's certainly well-known for violinists," she said. "It's pretty incredible work."
In Columbus, Murray will play Shostakovich's "Violin Concerto, Opus 99."
"I love that concerto," Murray said. "It's incredible because it allows for such expression for thought. And it allows me to tell a story and express idealistic thoughts through playing. That's what I aspire to with any piece."
When she's not performing, practicing or traveling, Murray spends a lot of time on Skype and emailing and phoning family members and friends.