Charissa Leung
Section 2nd Violin

Hometown: San Jose, CA
Member of the Nashville Symphony since 2022

Why did you choose your instrument?
I started playing violin because several of my cousins were learning. I was only 3 years old when I started the Suzuki method with my dad learning alongside me!

When did you know you wanted to pursue music as a career?

I went to my first summer music festival in Utah when I was 15, and it was the first time I met professional musicians and got to play chamber music and in an orchestra. I had never been in an environment that was so saturated in music, or experienced that kind of collaboration and inspiration before -- I loved it! That summer was definitely a turning point for me, and made me start practicing harder to pursue music as a career.

Where did you go to school and what degree(s) did you get?

McDuffie Center for Strings, BM '19

Yale School of Music, MM '21

Who is your favorite composer, and what is your favorite piece by them?

I've been on a Beethoven kick recently, and can't stop listening to his piano concertos! Especially No. 3 and No. 4.

What is the best piece you have performed in your career?

Tough to answer -- one of my favorites was the Debussy Quartet!

What excites you most about performing with the Nashville Symphony?

I'm excited to play in the Laura Turner Hall almost every day! It's such a beautiful venue and I can't believe that's my "office"!

How many instruments do you own, or have you owned over your lifetime? 

I own 2-- an antique Venetian violin (the name of the maker is a mystery!), and a 2014 David Polstein violin. Both are so special to me. I named the antique one Allegra, and the modern one is Thelma.

What was the first concert you went to? 

I went to Davies Symphony Hall to hear Itzhak Perlman perform Mozart violin sonatas.

What is your favorite part of Nashville so far?

I love how green it is! I'll be going on lots of walks when it isn't 100 degrees outside!

What hobbies do you enjoy?

 I like baking and taking care of my plant collection!

Favorite movie or TV show? 

The Office, of course, but I also love the Great British Baking Show and terrible reality TV like Love is Blind and the Bachelor.