Reunion Trio in Tennessee

One of the highlights of this season was a reunion trio concert- a concert with two friends that go way way way back.

Esther Park, pianist, has been my friend since our wee mini-me days in the Pre-College division at Juilliard (fun fact: we even played in a piano trio when we were 13-14 yrs old!). She is a powerhouse of a pianist, DMA candidate at Yale School of Music, and visiting professor at Eastern Tennessee State University.

I have known Nicholas Finch, cellist, since our undergraduate days at Juilliard, when he was a curious transfer student from Harvard. He is now principal cellist in the Louisville Orchestra.

Since we are all relatively close to each other now (just a 5 hour drive!), we conceived of this project, and were excited to settle on a program and a date that could work for all three of us. We all arrived in Tennessee (even Esther, who had been playing on the east coast), and proceeded to drink coffee and rehearse like crazy people. By the end of the few days, we were going completely insane… our head swimming with Debussy, Brahms, Piazzolla and Rachmaninoff!

Here is proof: us in the middle of rehearsing- espresso break. Note the dark circles under all of our eyes! This must have been after a few days of non stop rehearsals….


Refreshed from a night of sleep, and ready to walk on stage:


But somehow we made it: it was a fun experience, and was great to work together again. We look forward to future projects!


Winter Music!

The cold winter has not stopped the music! Thankfully, there were several fun concerts that stood out to cheer me up and warm the bitter weather.

In February, we had visiting artists the Miami String Quartet visit for a residency. The students enjoyed masterclasses, and working with members of the Quartet.

Kathy Meng Robinson of the Miami Quartet and I enjoyed working together on Prokofiev’s two violin sonata. I had never played this piece before, and was a bit nervous about it- especially knowing that we would have a very limited amount of rehearsal time. It turned out to be a very exciting and enjoyable performance, and I can’t wait to perform this piece again (hopefully in the near future!).


The second half of the concert consisted of one of the greatest works of chamber music of all time- the Schubert Cello Quintet. Such an amazing piece!


Mark Phillips and I collaborated once again on his work for Violin and Live Electronics Violin Power at the Faculty Chamber Music Series.


Finally, my ducklings had their first annual studio project.The studio project is a themed recital that I require my studio to plan on their own (with perhaps some help)! They are supposed to choose a theme, find and secure a venue outside of the school, and figure out how to publicize the concert. They voted on a “Valentine’s Day Concert” with a romance theme in mind. As part of the publicity, they offered raffles for “romance baskets”. The program was a really eclectic mix, and a great success. I was definitely, very proud of all of them!
Somehow I am missing a few students in this picture, but at least most of them are in this photo!

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Fall Semester update

The fall semester flew by- I have 14 students- 10 undergraduates and 4 graduate students. In addition to our weekly studio classes (where cookies can be found occasionally to bribe the students!), and individual lessons, I spend time as an academic advisor to my students, coaching chamber music, teaching Methods and Pedagogy classes. I guess one could say that my schedule is quite full!

A typical studio class day- chomping down on cookies with a side of violin!


When I was in school, the best experiences I had were performing with my teachers. It was exciting, nerve-wracking and also a learning experience! I’m so happy that now I get to give my students a similar experience- I got to play Souvenir de Florence by Tchaikovsky with the graduate string quartet. Here are some pictures from the concert.


And then more pictures of some of my studio after various recitals!

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Academie Anglicorde- France!

My French friend, and wonderful violist Mathilde Geismar (we met during our time Yale School of Music together) started a non profit in France! It’s called CordeUS, and it hosts a two week festival called Academie-Anglicorde. When she asked me to join the violin faculty for 2014, I could not pass up the chance to go back to France. I was reunited with my friend from Juilliard, the amazing cellist Deborah Pae, made fast new friends with pianist Nathaniel LaNasa, and enjoyed the amazing cooking of our resident chef/clarinetist/bass Jay Hutchinson of East Boston Oysters.

I had an amazing time sharing my “American style” teaching philosophy with the French students, playing wonderful chamber music with my colleagues, and EATING!! It was interesting to see first hand how I approach music and teaching quite differently from the approach of the French Conservatories. One can not say that one style is better than the other, but I believe that everyone can benefit from a variety of teaching/learning styles. It was a great experience for both students and faculty, and I hope to be able to go back.

A few pictures from my trip:

A photo from our Schumann Piano Quartet rehearsal, and me performing my “American” piece- Korngold’s Much ado about nothing Suite.


Mozart Piano Quartet group with guest artist Bertrand Denis, Professor of Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional, and the Schumann Quartet group!


Now for the fun stuff- I got a chance to hear my friend, jazz pianist Adam Birnbaum with Al Foster Quartet at Sunset/Sunside club. And I had a chance to catch up with my pianist friend Katsura Tanikawa– it is truly amazing how being a musician means that you run into friends wherever you go! All of us do not live in Paris, but happened to be performing there at the same time!

On the downside, being a musician does mean that you rarely get to go sightseeing, or have free time when traveling. We did get a free afternoon and walked around the streets of Paris. I must say that I really hope that one day I will be able to spend time in Paris when I’m NOT working (not that I’m complaining about having work, but, most of my trips to Paris have been work trips, so just once it would be nice to be able to relax and enjoy!).

No trip to Paris could be complete without a trip to my favorite place Pierre Herme. I don’t even have a sweet tooth, but I must say that they are my favorite macarons EVER! The seasonal white truffle macaron will forever be my favorite. <3 I will miss you PARIS!


Electronic Music Midwest

At my new position at Ohio University, I have the privilege of working alongside many great musicians. One of them is my  colleague, the wise and supportive composer and distinguished professor Mark Phillips. So when he asked me if I would learn his piece Violin Power, and perform it at the Electronic Music Midwest Festival, I jumped at the chance.

It was a fun experience, and I hope to post videos from the performance soon! I can’t wait to work with Mark again!

Now off to Paris!