Artist Certificate, Chamber Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
MM, Rice University
BM, The Juilliard School
Awards and Distinctions
Winner, 2016 Naumburg Chamber Music Award
Grand Prize, 2014 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition
What is your hometown?
What is your favorite recording?
Nowadays I couldn't say as I far prefer live performance to recordings for their spontaneity and honesty - even so, who could pick a favorite? But if you twist my arm, I'd have to go back to my high school years and say Stravinsky's Rite of Spring with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic (Bernstein Century Label), not because it was my favorite recording even then, but because of the influence it had on me at the time: it completely confused me because it sounded like gibberish the first time I heard it, and yet, I sensed something incredibly strong in that strange language and it taught me what it means to go from zero understanding of a work to wholehearted discipleship after living with the language and the piece over many listenings.
What are you passionate about outside of music?
Literature, sometimes pool (the game, not the one outside), and camping (although, I'm an amateur).
Who were your major teachers?
Ian Swensen, Mark Sokol, Kathleen Winkler, and Itzhak Perlman.
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
I steal it from Mark Sokol who I think would be OK with me doing that: towards the end of his life he starting saying to a couple of his students, “I'm going to give you the best violin lesson you ever had! Hold out your hand in front of you.” He would then put his palm against theirs and say “Push!” and would push against their hand with his. “Push harder! - That's all there is to it.” I believe he wanted us to experience the give and take of chamber music, the contact with another, and that feeling of tangibility and resistance that is so crucial to great violin playing ... well, really great playing period.
What was a turning point in your career?
A turning point in my career was deciding to throw the security of an orchestra job to the wind a year after finishing my master’s at Rice University and go search for other like-minded and equally foolhardy chamber musicians out in the Wild West by pursuing a third degree in chamber music at SFCM with my now wife, Pei-Ling Lin, violist in the Telegraph Quartet and current professor here at SFCM.
If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
Wow. That's a hard one. I can't imagine not spending my time working on music, but oddly I'd have to say probably something to do with biology. I think they have a lot in common and science ran in the family.
What is your daily practice routine?
Practice any moment I can find the chance! But on an ideal day, Flesch scale systems and Paganini Caprice for warm-up, concerto or solo piece for an hour, and my current quartet music for as much time as I can fit in.
If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?
Probably Bach, Beethoven, and hmmmmm too many to choose from after that!
What is your unrealized project?
One yet-to-be-realized project is performing a Schoenberg String Quartet Cycle (the four official ones) and equally as difficult, convincing a presenter in the US to program it!