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Everyone has some kind of talent, and somewhere in their lifetime, this talent will be noticed and praised. But there are always those exceptional few that catch the eye of the people they come into contact with for the skills they possess. These very rare students are hard to pinpoint in the massive UCI population, but be assured, they do exist.
In the Middle Earth housing complex of UC Irvine, freshman Anthony Milano, 19, from Modesto, Calif. hopes to graduate in four years with a degree in biological sciences. He also has a prodigious talent playing the violin. Where arts and sciences usually clash, this UCI student finds amongst them a common ground for his interests.
At the age of seven and a half, Milano took up his great-grandfather’s violin and found an appreciation for music within himself and a talent that might have otherwise remained inert and unexplored.
Talents can define a person. Where people usually identify with their talents, Milano accepts them as a way of life, not as something out of the ordinary, and this may be the reason he has succeeded at such high levels.
‘I don’t consider myself a prodigy, but I’ve been playing for over 10 years,’ Milano said. ‘I’ve been in numerous orchestras back where I live in Modesto [and] have toured at Carnegie Hall.’
Milano looks up to modern violinists such as Isaac Stern, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Pearlman and Nigel Kennedy. Kennedy’s concertos stand out among the others, as they have taught Milano a great deal.
Each hall in the Middle Earth Housing complex takes pride in their togetherness and camaraderie. That’s how most residents found out about Milano.
‘People always come by and hear me practice because I have my door open. Out of the window, [the sound] comes out,’ Milano said.
Now an alumnus of Fred C. Byer High School in Modesto, Milano was a recipient of awards and held prestigious positions throughout his high school career.
Graduating high school with a 3.89 GPA and Advanced Placement classes, he also received Most Renowned Player his senior year and Most Improved Player his junior year.
‘As far as awards, it’s just what I got out of it

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