Hometown: Flushing, New York | Member of the Nashville Symphony since 2018
You just joined the orchestra this year. What has your experience been like?
I was invited to come to Nashville for a one-year position in September 2017, and I was really nervous, knowing full well that I was the new kid on the block. I still remember the very first rehearsal – I had major butterflies in my stomach and practiced in my head how I would introduce myself to the orchestra members. But it happened the other way around! Everyone was so friendly and nice, and they all came up to meet ME! They were so welcoming and warm, and it left such a deep impression in my heart. I felt the love right away from the orchestra, and I’m so thankful to be part of the family now!
What do you love most about your instrument?
Because air and breathing are so connected with life, I feel like I can breathe life into the flute and directly imbue my spirit into it. There’s something so pure about the flute as well; it has this naive, childlike quality and at times can sound angelic. I think that’s why composers use the flute for ethereal solos like Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits. But I also get to play the piccolo, which is very different because to me the piccolo is pure electricity. It’s like tightrope walking in that it’s both exhilarating and wildly terrifying at the same time! No wonder why composers use the piccolo for all the famous storm scenes like Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony or Rossini’s William Tell Overture!
What’s one of the most important lessons you’ve learned as a musician?
One of my teachers said this once, and it’s my favorite mantra – I even have it on the wall of my room: “One note can make the world go wild.” I strive every day to make some sort of sound that will create fantasy and wonder. It can be hard because sometimes you get locked into the routine and repetition of practicing and you forget that, but music all boils down to that magical essence and it’s up to us musicians to create that. I have to keep reminding myself, but by far that is one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned.
If you could meet any composer – living or dead – who would it be and what would you ask them?
That’s tough, because there are so many questions we want to ask all the great composers! But rather than asking questions, it would be great to just sit and listen to composers play their instruments. I’d love to sit in a church and listen to Bach improvising on the organ, or watch Beethoven compete in dueling piano improvisations, or listen to how softly Chopin tickled the ivory keys, or discover how devilishly passionate Paganini could play the violin. I would like to be able to experience things like that, because I think they would leave a bigger impression on me rather than just asking one of them a question.
First concert you ever attended?
Most likely one of my parents’ concerts (they’re musicians, too), but my earliest conscious memory would be of one of the New York Philharmonic’s parks concerts. I don’t remember what was on the program, but I remember the crickets, the wet grass, the balmy evening air, the popcorn, the glowsticks and the fireworks!
Favorite piece of music?
Strauss’s Don Quixote and Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major. I can listen to those pieces over and over, and they never get old.
My mom’s makgooksoo (Korean hot noodle soup)
Favorite Sports Team?
I don’t really follow sports, but just because I’m from Flushing, GO METS!