Wed, Jan 03, 2018 - Page 4 News List

FEATURE: Young talents seek opportunity in NY

PERFORMANCE PLATFORMS:TWNY Music Guild and the New Asia Chamber Music Society have provided Taiwanese musicians opportunities to shine in the Big Apple

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwanese musicians perform in New York on Dec. 17 last year.

Photo: CNA

Many young Taiwanese musicians are trying to make a name for themselves in New York because of the city’s inclusive atmosphere and opportunities, despite the competition and challenges they face.

New York is home to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall and other performance venues, as well as world-renowned schools, which make it an attractive arts and music environment.

Many Taiwanese students in the US choose to stay after graduation and look for opportunities during the post-graduation internship or work period to develop their music career.

Despite visa issues, New York’s performance venues, opportunities and cultural diversity provide compelling reasons for many Taiwanese students to stay in the US.

However, many Taiwanese who seek opportunities in New York have said that there will always be someone more talented.

“There are more musicians than germs in New York,” Francis Hon (洪維浩) said.

Hon holds a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music and is enrolled in the jazz studies master’s program at New York University.

“Only in New York did I discover how insignificant I was,” New York University graduate and cellist Owen Chen (陳慶紘) said.

Oboist Chen Hsuan-fong (陳宣夆) moved to the US when she was 13, and graduated from the Juilliard School and Yale University.

“A career in music is tough, but being in New York and doing what I enjoy — it is all worth it,” she said.

Violist Chien Li-jung (簡俐容), a graduate of the Mannes School of Music, said New York’s music scene broadened her perspective.

Even though she experienced constant setbacks, Chien said she also learned how to find her self-confidence.

Pianist Wayne Weng (翁偉恩), who holds a doctorate from the City University of New York, immigrated to Canada with his family when he was 12 years old before moving to the US.

Weng tried to make a name for himself in London, but returned to New York after two years.

New York’s immigrant culture and inclusivity made him decide to stay, he said.

Opera singer and soprano Yvonne Cheng (鄭瑜英) studied in Italy for 10 years and has won several international awards.

After completing her studies she tried to stay in Italy, the birthplace of opera, but Europe is too xenophobic, Cheng said, adding that it is incredibly difficult for Asians to achieve success there and even the most talented people are rejected.

Everyone needs to survive — musicians are the same, she said.

Even though New York has more talented musicians than Europe, there are more opportunities, she added.

Over the past two years, TWNY Music Guild — an organization that provides a platform for young Taiwanese musicians in the greater New York area — has gradually made a name for itself.

Nearly 150 Taiwanese musicians have performed in the eight performances the group has held.

Founder Daniel Tsai (蔡榮昭) said that through their performances, he has seen the different stages in the psychological journey of Taiwanese students leaving their hometowns to study in New York, the capital of art.

This has strengthened his belief in the necessity of the platform’s existence, Tsai said, adding that he hopes to lead young Taiwanese into a wider world.

Huang Hsin-Yun (黃心芸), who teaches at Juilliard and the Curtis Institute of Music, said that she admires the platform and hopes it will continue.

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