Wed, Dec 11, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Vanessa Mae of Taiwan puts spotlight on solo violin

Connie Hsu, a US-trained musician, hopes to turn her engaging stage presence into a solo career

By Dan Bloom  /  Contributing reporter

Connie Hsu is dressed to play.

Photo courtesy of Connie Hsu

For Connie Hsu (徐冠宜), all the world’s a stage. On recent back-to-back Friday and Saturday nights in Chiayi City, Hsu performed two short sets outdoors for the opening of a new chain store. She had the 200 spectators in awe both nights as she displayed an in-your-face set with an electric violin.

Hsu, 29, trained in music in the US and now works as a performing violinist in Taipei as part of the popular all-women violin group V-Band.

In Chiayi, she hit all the right notes as she turned some Beethoven classics into semi-rock power songs in the tradition of British violinist Vanessa Mae, one of her idols. Dressed to kill in a sexy black dress — a long one for one set, and a short one for the second set — Hsu rocked back and forth on her black high heels, wowing the enthusiastic crowd with her performance.

There was no stage, just a sidewalk platform a few centimeters high, and Hsu often stepped out into the audience and gave an up close and personal show to shoppers just a few meters away.

Hsu has played with V-Band all over Taiwan as well as Hong Kong and Singapore, and she is often on the road with her bandmates.

Now Hsu hopes to turn her stage personality and dramatic flair for performing live into a solo act.

Hsu has been performing in Taiwan for four years now, having graduated from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 2010.

“Being a soloist has always been one of my dreams. While I am not a perfect technical player, I love performing in public as a solo artist,” she said, adding that she involves the audience by making eye contact.

“My goal is to get the audience to come closer to me, face to face. I don’t want to just perform in the traditional way on a faraway stage where there is a big distance between the musician and the listeners,” she said

Hsu says she’s a big fan of Vanessa Mae, the British rock violinist and confesses that her full English is “Connie Mae Hsu.”

“It might sound dreamy, but I dream of becoming Taiwan’s Vanessa Mae,” Hsu said.

“V-Band supports me, and we all support each other, it’s great to be part of something like this. But to have my own solo career like Vanessa Mae, that will be my dream come true.”

As the leader of V-Band, Hsu still does the solos on stage, and she has also been busy playing with other chamber groups in Taipei, she said.

When asked if other members of the band were apprehensive or jealous of her solo dreams, she said that they were all very supportive.

“We are like sisters and friends, the four of us. Since I do the solos in the band, the other members are not jealous at all to see my pursuit of a solo [career]. They wish me well, in fact.”

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