In early February I made my debut as a soloist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic in a performance of Handel’s Let the Bright Seraphim partnered with the terrific soprano Sumi Jo. It was a very enjoyable musical experience for me and I learned a lot from working with her.

Sumi shared about what her values were; what was the most important to her. Her answer was succinct and made a lot of sense.

1: Technique: “The technique must be there, we are technicians, and there is no substitute for proper use of your instrument.”

2: Musicality: “The musicianship and phrasing come from deep within and some people have it and some people don’t. It is an inherited gift at birth.”

This one I do not agree with, I think that phrasing is mostly a matter of a lifetime of playing, studying, and listening to music. Sumi’s musicianship perhaps does come from God, but mine is something I picked up along the way.

3: “Give yourself. You can’t hide anything from the audience. Give 100% yourself, as much as you can to them, and they (assuming you have #1 and #2) will accept you, follow you, and love you. Give give give, until you are exhausted. Then give more.”

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