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SFCM Graduate Wins Job with Grammy-Winning Pittsburgh Symphony

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Violinist Vivian Ling (MM ‘22) will join the Pittsburgh Symphony in June 2023. While at SFCM she studied with Ian Swensen and Chen Zhao.

January 18, 2023 by Mark Taylor

By Mark Taylor 

The steel city is gaining some solid SFCM talent. 

Violinist Vivan Ling will premiere with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in summer 2023. “I’ve admired this orchestra and their music director Mr. Manfred Honeck for a very long time. Getting into the PSO is definitely a dream come true for me,” Ling said. 


Ling’s history with SFCM is a long one: Not only did she participate and finish the undergraduate (BM ‘20) and graduate (MM ‘22) degree programs, but she also was in the Pre-College program back in 2013. “I loved my time at SFCM. I miss my teachers and the supportive faculty,” Ling added. While at SFCM she studied with professors Ian Swenson and Chen Zhao. “Both Ian Swensen and Chen Zhao played a huge role in my career. They helped me tremendously preparing for concerts, auditions, and competitions over the years,” Ling continued. “They were the first people I shared the news with after I got the job!”

For Swensen, seeing Ling succeed so early was no surprise, “Vivian is such a natural player and plays with amazing ease and confidence. I always felt she would be very successful with her music. Even at 19 years old she was a soloist with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra,” Swensen said. “Just a bright and wonderful person with tons of talent and capacity. Congratulations to her!” 

Ling’s role with the rchestra will be second violin. Long heralded as one of America’s great orchestras, the Pittsburgh Symphony, has been performing for more than 120 years, and Ling looks forward to continuing that legacy with the skills she learned at SFCM. “I feel so blessed that I have both Ian and Chen as my teacher, mentor, and friend through my years in SFCM. I wouldn’t have been able to reach my goal without them.”

Learn more about studying violin at SFCM.