A violin for Yasa

Jim Birle bestows a new instrument through Dean’s Fund for Excellence.

Jim Birle standing with Yasa Poletaeva and the violin he bought her
Yasa Poletaeva and Jim Birle

Yasa Poletaeva has a favorite quote from the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez: “If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” It seems a little contradictory for a young musician whose life centers on the firmly ruled lines of a musical staff.

“As students, we are used to being told how and what to do,” Poletaeva said. “But then there is a moment when you walk on stage and you are one with the universe. You just have to trust your guts and create.”

A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, Poletaeva is working toward her professional performance certificate at Lynn’s

Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of Elmar Oliveira. She earned her master’s degree in violin from Lynn in 2016 and is also a graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music. She has won Lynn’s Concerto Competition, the John Oliveira String Competition and many competitions in Russia. She tours with the Contrast Duo and has played with the Miami City Ballet and the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival. She has performed in the Philippines, Germany, Latvia, Finland, France and Italy.

And she has done it all on a borrowed violin.

Enter Jim Birle.

When Birle discovered Poletaeva was in need of her own violin, he made a gift right away to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence.

I want them to have these instruments to enhance their careers. I consider it an honor to help them.

Jim Birle

“I am so fortunate to be able to do this for her,” he said. “These students are so accomplished and they often have very little financial help. I have been going to concerts for years and I really care about the students. It makes me so happy to give them something in return.”

And Poletaeva is beyond happy to receive it.

“What can be more beautiful than buying an instrument for a musician?” she said. “It’s like giving an artist wings to fly.”

Selecting a violin is no typical trip to the corner store. To Poletaeva, the process is less about the neck, strings and pegs and more about alchemy.

“I need to fall in love with the violin,” she said. “Like with a real person. Because it’s actually a part of me, a part of my soul.”

Funding in place, she is still searching for her soulmate.

This isn’t the first time Birle, a retired executive with General Electric and the Blackstone Group, has bestowed an instrument on a conservatory student. Three years ago, he and his wife attended a Philharmonia concert at their country club. Clarinetist Fabiola Porras ’10, ’12, ’14 was seated at their table after the performance.

Birle said, “I told her I enjoyed her music, then I asked her about her clarinet. She said, ‘It’s not mine. It’s borrowed.’”

On the spot, Birle told her he and his wife would buy her a clarinet to own, which they did.

“I want them to have these instruments to enhance their careers,” Birle said, “I consider it an honor to help them.

I feel like I’m the real beneficiary of it, not them, because I get to hear them play and follow their careers when they graduate.”

Porras now plays clarinet for the Miami City Ballet.  

Take the next step
Get started on your future today
Complete your application and secure your spot.
Pictures tell only part of the story. Come see for yourself.
How would you like to hear from us?

We are Lynn

Blue and white doughnuts in Perper Plaza
Come grab some coffee & doughnuts in honor of our 'sweet' success ... we get it done!
Eleonora Lambertini, staff member
Lynn University's YMCA Corporate Cup team
Lynn took third place in the annual YMCA Corporate Cup Saturday, Nov. 11.
Jamie D'Aria, staff member
Img 2488 Copy
Meet the Student Philanthropy Team!
Catalina Villamarin, student
2017 10 28 Lynn 06
Lynn Debate won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, top novice speaker, and 2nd overall speaker at the second Lynn Debates Oct 28.
Kathryn Hamm, faculty member
2017 10 28 Lynn 03
Lynn Debate hosted a tournament Oct. 28 with six schools competing: SEU, FIU, Eastern Fla., Miami Dade, Broward,Lynn.
Kathryn Hamm, faculty member
The sun sets behind the skeleton of the University Center
The University Center's construction site is shaping up!
Jean Lamy, student

View more