When she’s not on the concert stage, Hsieh Shih-yun (謝士雲) is a capris and T-shirt kind of violinist.
She is ultra practical. In her student days, Hsieh took time to earn a teacher’s license at National Taiwan Normal University before pursuing violin performance. As a parent, she’s got no itch to shape her twins into professional musicians just like her, since that “seems unnecessary.”
“If those two get all the way through The Little Bee five times, I am happy,” she said to the Taipei Times.
“I hope they can see violin as fun and interesting... There are already plenty of good musicians in Taiwan. What there aren’t enough of are those who appreciate music,” she said.
Hsieh’s pragmatism shows in the program of A Tribute to Violin Masters (向提琴大師致敬), her upcoming recital that tries to be useful to listeners in two ways.
“I want to take listeners through violin history from the 18th to the 20th century... I also want to energize violin students by modeling some milestones of their training -- pieces that are rarely heard live.”
So for her program, Hsieh calls on grizzled European violinists like Eugene Ysaye and Sergei Prokofiev.
But her picks from their repertoire aren’t so usual. Hsieh does play some concert hall standards, like Henryk Wieniawski’s Scherzo-Tarantella Opus 16 and Giuseppe Tartini’s The Devil’s Trill, the latter a technical whirlwind. But her program isn’t dominated by fare meant only to make her shine onstage.
Instead, Hsieh blends in intermediate violin pieces, like Pablo de Sarasate’s Romanza Andaluza from the Spanish Dances, and the student-friendly Allegretto in E Major, one of Niccolo Paganini’s Caprices for solo violin. You will also hear Praeludium and Allegro by Fritz Kreisler, one of the world’s most studied violin compositions.
“I want students [in the audience] to think, ‘Hey, I’m practicing this piece right now,’ or ‘That is a great piece that I can play. I should learn it next,’” said Hsieh.
A Tribute to Violin Masters is on next Wednesday at the National Recital Hall. Hsieh won’t be in a tee, but if that’s your style, this will probably be one recital you’ll like.