Yu Xin, born in China, began studying violin at 5 years old. She went to the WuHan Conservatory of Music Middle School when she was 14. While in school she won the second prize in violin competition of WuHan Conservatory of Music in China.
From 2012-2016, she received a full scholarshipfrom Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore, where she completed her bachelor's degree in Violin performance. After, She went on to pursue a Master’s degree at the DePaul School of Music, studying with Professor Ilya Kaler.
During her collegiate years, Yu has appeared in masterclass with David Takeno, Kevork Mardirossian, Zhang Ti, Alexander Kerr and Almita Vamos. Also, receiving chamber music coaching from the Takacs String Quartet, Shanghai String Quartet, Armida String Quartet, Norman Fischer, and Melvyn Tan.
She has participated in music festivals such as the Asian Youth Orchestra; performing in a tour of several Asian countries; Texas music festival, and Miami Music festival as concertmaster leading a performance of Britten’s A Midsummers Night’s Dream with Conductor Christopher Ocasek.
Before her relocation to Chicago, Yu had private violin studio in Singapore. She teaches different ages and most different levels with an approach based on technique and musical originally, and is certified in the Suzuki method of string education. Currently, Yu is based in Chicago, besides her teaching job, she is the section violin of Southwest Michigan Orchestra and an associate member at Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
1. When did you start to play the violin? What was the first tune(s) you learned?
I started to play violin at the age of five, and the first song I learned is a folk song from Suzuki Book titled Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
2. What drew you to become a violinist? What or Who were your early passions and influences?
Since early childhood, I have been encouraged by my parents to learn to play a musical instrument. They gave me some options but at the end I made my own decision. I remember the first time I heard the sound of the violin from TV, and I fell in love with the sound of it. So I expressed my desire I wanted to learn the violin.
3. What do you enjoy most about being a violinist? What do you hate most? Why?
The thing I enjoy the most is performing on stage, where I can communicate with other musicians and share wonderful music with audience. The thing I hate the most is the sacrifice which is necessary to face during practice, repeating over and over to overcome technique issues or learning the parts that initially feel beyond my abilities The struggle could last days and it’s hard to know how long it will take to reach the goal.
*4. What is your routine before a performance? （Do you follow any superstitions?）
I usually practice less than regular days, to both release the mental stress and save my energies. As the performance time approaches, usually around an hour before, I would start doing some slow practice to warm up and transition both my mind and body to a performance condition.
5. How do you balance your life as a student and musician?
Personally, I think there is not really a clear distinction between my life as a student and as a musician, because they supplement each other.
I always think as a student you have to accumulate as much performance experience as you can. On the other hand as a musician you will always find a weakness or potential area of improvement while performing on the stage, which you will work on to improve your next stage performance.
*6. What are these difficulties you encountered as a musician?
I think the biggest difficulty I encountered was the dilemma I had to face in middle school, as at a still young age I had to make a very important decision to fully embrace life as a musician, taking the responsibility of my studies, or abandon it. Learning to play an instrument is not as important as deciding to have a music life, which requires giving up a lot to focus most of your energies in music only, with sacrifice and dedication.
7. How do you feel being a part of Bailu Chamber Orchestra? What you expect to get from Bailu concert series?
It is my great honor to be a part of Bailu Chamber Orchestra.
I think Bailu Concert Series is a great bridge between musicians and audience, and I hope through this platform we can introduce different genres of music to the audience and encourage them to accept something new. As musicians we all hope that by sharing good music we can let everyone in the audience feel the power of music and feel touched.
8. When you look ahead to the next five, 10, or 20 years of your career, what do you hope to accomplish?
I wish I can play in a professional orchestra, but in the longer term what I hope the most is that even when I’ll be getting old, I will still have the passion for making music with other musicians together and enjoy it every day.
9. If you weren’t a violinist, what job would you want to do?
I can’t imagine what would happen if I weren't a violinist, but if one day I am no longer able to play, I will still continue my music life as a teacher to pass knowledge on to students.
*10. How does the new popularity of music streaming affect the popularity of
classical music? To what extent do classical musicians need to adapt?
I think modern streaming technologies are a great platform to easily query a huge amount of resources, and this was extremely useful to me during my career countless times. Probably the simple search criteria of these platforms are more tailored towards other genres, and it will be extremely interesting in the future to see how classical musicians can work together with developers of these platforms to add all the additional metadata that can make finding classical music videos and recordings with even more specific search criteria even simpler.
11. If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
I think nowadays, with modern technologies and everything in life produced for quick consumption, it is getting harder and harder to convince younger generations to approach classical music. While society is moving in this direction, I think the industry is not doing enough to reach the younger generations and show them the beauty of classical music.
I would like to perform concerts with a special repertoire for kids, to make them feel this is not something sophisticated and for adults only, but something accessible that they can understand as kids as well, and that can be part of their life.
Concerts that are affordable and where parents are encouraged to bring their children will slowly shift everybody’s perception of classical music away from being something high end and intimidating. Ultimately having as many people as possible embracing it will be the best chance for classical music culture to be passed on generation by generation.
12. Based on your experiences, Are there any different industry environment between Singapore and the United States?
I studied in Singapore for my undergraduate degree in an international school, and after coming to study for my master degree in the US, I feel the two systems, from education perspective, are very similar.
But I realized in my teaching career that the ratio of kids playing a musical instrument is definitely higher in Singapore than in the US, and it was indeed quite frequent finding kids practicing multiple instruments at the same time.
I also realized that, when attending concerts in Singapore, there was a much higher participation of younger audiences than I see attending concerts in the US.
That said, it’s also undeniable that the US is the country everyone looks up to as the peak of a professional career, and where most of the greatest violinists that I grew up listening to today live, perform or teach.