Shen Dai Wei, 12, and his family spent three years on the run from Chinese authorities, laying low in Thailand before coming to the U.S. as political refugees. In his first nine years, Dai Wei had spent just four weeks in school. With thousands of hours of practice, he had learned more about violin than almost anything else.
Shen Dai Wei performs at the Everson Museum of Art in a Central New York Association of Music Teachers recital.
Shen Dai Wei and his father, Shen Xi, llsten to Feng Jia Yao, in China, during a Skype lesson in October 2011. Dai Wei was learning to play the Butterfly Lovers' Concerto, a Chinese composition, for an upcoming concert.
Dai Wei's father, Shen Xi, a political refugee, took a job working at Terrells Potato Chip factory in East Syracuse, his first job in the U.S. He was a university graduate and television journalist in China.
Shen Dai Wei walks with his mom, Rong Ping, and brother, Dai Lei, toward home after school September 2011. Dai Wei's only school experience before moving to the U.S.was one month in kindergarten in China.
Shen Xi rode his bicycle seven miles to work and back for his first job in the U.S., inspecting potatoes at Terrells Potato Chip factory in East Syracuse.
Shen Dai Wei locks up his bike after school. At left is his mom, Rong Ping, holding his brother, Dai Lei.
Before school, Shen Dai Wei checks scrapes on his face after falling off his bike the previous day in September 2011.
Dai Wei, who sometimes refers to himself as "David", wrote out a schedule and taped it to his bedroom wall in 2011. His violin teacher, Peter Rovit, and mentor, Anita Gustafson, met with Dai Wei's father, Shen Xi, and told him that his son needed to practice less.
Shen Dai Wei takes a break from his violin lesson over Skype with teacher Fen Jiai Yao, of China. At right, Dai Wei's father, Shen Xi, listens to Fen's comments via computer about Dai Wei's playing.
Shen Dai Wei runs out onto the front porch when his violin coach, Anita Gustafson, left, asked him to play the Chinese composition called the Butterfly Lovers' Concerto during a coaching session in July 2011. Gustafson carried Dai Wei back into the house, reassuring him.
Shen Dai Wei's notes and drawings on his violin music.
Dai Wei Shen complains to Edward Elementary School music teacher Ann Kupferberg about a violin that wouldn't stay in tune during a music class in October 2011. Dai Wei's only school experience before Syracuse had been one month in kindergarten in China.
Peter Rovit, a former SU violin professor, corrects Dai Wei's fingering during a lesson in November 2012. At right is Dai Wei's father, Shen, Xi.
Dai Wei talks with his LeMoyne College Orchestra standmate Arianne Van Cleef, a nursing freshman, right, and Cynthia Dowsland, of Utica, a biology senior, as they wait outside the music room to play for Travis Newton, the music director at LeMoyne College, who was assessing the students individually before an upcoming concert.
Shen Dai Wei, the youngest member of the LeMoyne College Orchestra, talks with LeMoyne College music director Travis Newton after playing for him. Newton was assessing orchestra members before an upcoming concert.
Shen Dai Wei plays with other violinists at the LeMoyne College strings camp August 2012.
Dai Wei Shen takes a break from practicing the violin to play a race car game on the computer