Yurie Mitsuhashi


Hometown: Fort Lee, NJ

Alma maters: The Juilliard School, B.M.; Yale School of Music, M.M.

TŌN photos by Matt Dine


Awards/Competitions: Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, 2010, From the Top

What is your earliest memory of classical music? I fondly remember my mother’s piano playing at nighttime, usually a work by Debussy or Chopin, and it would lull me to sleep. Another vivid memory of mine is crying over practice sessions with my mom at age 3. In the beginning, practicing was frequently a battle!

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? In high school when, during a period of teenage angst, I finally decided that music and the violin was the only constant in my life. (Of course, I was only being dramatic. I simply love what I do, and am very passionate about it.)

Who is your biggest inspiration? Different people inspire me every day, so it is difficult to choose a single person today. I can say that they are not always a leading professional in the music world, but can also be my family, a colleague, or a neighbor.

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? I have two favorites recently: Le Tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel and The Planets by Gustav Holst. Listening to these works evokes in me something that is otherworldly and ethereal; I’ve always enjoyed that feeling.

Do you have any embarrassing performance stories? I totally said “procastinate” instead of “procrastinate” during my interview segment on NPR’s From the Top.

What is some advice you would give to your younger self? Listen to your mom. Beg for a cat.

Favorite non-classical musician or band: Frankie Valli, Daft Punk, Fleet Foxes, and Nujabes

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I’d be a mental-health specialist of some kind.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why? New Haven, CT is a special place for me; it’s where I experienced growth as an independent person and musician, met Carl, and got married. I also love Tokyo Disneyland (where I lived right next to as a child), and DisneyWorld.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I make my own kimchi!

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Look to expand the parameters of what you already know and always ask questions. Also, the following quote from Matilda by Roald Dahl inspired me as a child: “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable.”