Appearances: Sarasota Orchestra, 2020; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, 2019; Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, 2019; National Repertory Orchestra, 2018, Heartland Chamber Music Festival, 2017
What is your earliest memory of classical music? I remember watching the 1940 movie Fantasia as a child and being absolutely enchanted with the Beethoven Pastoral Symphony scenes with the cherubs, centaurs, fauns, Pegasus, and Bacchus, etc. It’s one of my favorite pieces to this day. Also, I loved the infamous YoYo-Ma episode of Arthur on PBS Kids.
Who is your biggest inspiration? My teacher, Sharon Robinson. She is one of the kindest, yet most unapologetically bold musicians I’ve ever met.
What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? My answer is constantly changing, but Mahler’s Symphonies 5 and 9 will always hit me hard. It never fails to give me goosebumps when I am surrounded by that immense depth of sound and emotion.
Do you have any embarrassing performance stories? I once gave a historically informed performance of a Bach Suite on a baroque cello (which does not have an endpin and is held up by being squeezed between the legs). I had made the terrible mistake of wearing a pair of silk slacks, not realizing until I started playing how slick they were, and subsequently spent the entire performance feeling the instrument slide down towards the floor while I desperately hoisted it up during every rest. It’s now a running joke among my friends to try to say “slick silk slacks” six times fast.
Favorite non-classical musician or band: Alt-J, Anderson .Paak, Esperanza Spalding, Freddie Hubbard, Queen
If you could play another instrument, what would it be? I’d love to be a pianist or a jazz singer.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I’d be an artist, or perhaps a photojournalist. Something in the visual realm!
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: In 2014 I worked as an English-Mandarin translator for YangMingShan National Park in Taipei.
Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Develop an excellent work ethic sooner in life. Don’t hold your failures up next to someone else’s successes. Be kind to your colleagues, but also remember to be kind to yourself.