Extraordinary is a good word to describe the character, skills and talents of Devin Jonathan Moore, a senior at Chartiers Valley High School.
At 17, he could easily be identified as a modern day “polymath”—that is, a person of great learning in several fields of study. Some notable past polymaths would be Michelangelo, the noted painter, architect, inventor and student of all things scientific, and Paul Robeson, the gifted bass singer and actor. An academic scholar and valedictorian at Rutgers University, Robeson went to school on a football scholarship and ended up as an All-American.
Moore is the lead in the viola section of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, under the instruction of Marylene Gingras-Roy, where he has been performing for the last three years. The multi-talented teen was exposed to classical music by his late maternal grandfather.
Moore explains that, when he was a child, he often visited his grandfather, who lived in downtown Pittsburgh near Heinz Hall. It was during these visits that he’d get an earful of the classics.
“My grandfather was a lover of classical music,” Moore says. “We’d go for rides and he kept the radio tuned to the classical channel. Because of his love of the music, I grew fond of it as well.”
He was only in third grade when he began studying violin at school. By the time Moore was in fourth grade, the music instructor saw that he was already more advanced than the class. The instructor invited Dr. Stephen Benham, associate professor of music education at the Mary Pappert School of Music, Duquesne University, to come and listen to him.
Benham was amazed. He said Moore had the talent that can “take him very far as a violinist.”