Tell us a little bit about yourself and your life. Not necessarily music-related!
Many people ask me “Where is your hometown? Where are you from?’, and I never seem to be able to answer that. I am a 20 year old Royal Conservatoire Of Scotland violin student who has already lived in 6 different countries prior to Glasgow. I refer to myself as what they call a ‘Third Culture Kid’. Due to my dad’s job, my family was required to travel and live in many different countries. I was born in Indonesia where my mother is from but grew up in Malaysia, China and Egypt, and and then spent my last two years of high school in France where my dad is from. I now live in Glasgow, but I intend to continue travelling and moving around when I graduate from university – because the world has so much to offer and life should be an adventure.
How did you first get into music?
My mum has a love for music composition. She taught piano and music theory. Apparently, at the age of 3, I looked at a violin in a music store, kept playing around with it, so my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to take lessons.
But also, I enjoyed singing a lot and being part of choirs. Moving from country to country, music was the only language which everyone understood. There was always such a welcoming and loving atmosphere when you are surrounded by people who love music.
What made you decide that music would be an important part of your life?
As I grew older and continued being part of orchestras, choirs and music projects, I realised the strong impact music could have on people. It unites us, because we connect with the melodies and we use it to express ourselves. It is a universal language. I want to make sure that everyone gets the chance to use it.
What has been your musical highlight so far?
My musical highlight? Wow, I wouldn’t know where to start. There are so many to choose from.
One of them would probably be: playing with Phil Cunningham at the Celtic Connections in 2017, for his Premiere of the Highland Suite. It was my first time playing a piece with traditional Scottish music in it, and it felt as if I was playing and recording for a movie. I had goosebumps during the whole concert, because of the hornpipes and flutes playing. It was an absolute dream.
This second one is not according to one particular performance, but rather the whole experience of Music Camps. Those really are my musical highlights. Only after I joined New York Summer Music Festival in 2013 did I start referring to myself as a musician. In the course of 4 weeks, I learned scat/jazz, classical singing, chamber music playing and what music can make you feel, and I made the most incredible group of friends.
After that, I started taking part in more music camps, and never once have I been disappointed with the experience. On the contrary, they helped me grow as a musician.
Who are your favourite composers/artists/musicians?
This might be weird, and totally unrelated to violin playing (which is what I’m studying right now – violin performance), but my first favourite artist would probably Jason Robert Brown, who is a composer and pianist. He wrote the music score to the musical The Last Five Years. Each song turns into a masterclass of storytelling. The music is so beautiful and filled with emotion that it always makes me cry.
My second favourite musician is singer, composer, arranger Jacob Collier. I really think he must be one of the most talented musicians of our generation. He is phenomenal. He can come up with the most amazing harmonies and song arrangements which constantly blow my mind. For example in ‘You and I’, his chord modulations and background vocals arrangements are not to be missed!
What really inspires me is his embrace for music of all kinds and the fact that he wants to learn from and experiment with all of the styles.
What do you anticipate for the Nevis Ensemble?
Really, there is nothing quite like it. After my first day tour with them, I was so exhausted, but so proud of all the work we did together as an ensemble. I think the future tours will be even more challenging but it’ll also be so satisfying and fulfilling both for the audiences and the performers, because it brings us together and unites us. Every ensemble should focus on making their performances the greatest experiences, and this is exactly what Nevis Ensemble does!