Artists of the Week: Katelyn Chu, Elvin Schlanger, Julia Wang
On Oct. 15, several members of the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra participated in a concerto competition, and the winners were Elvin Shlanger (flute) and Julia Wang (violin), with Katelyn Chu (cello) receiving an honoroable mention.
How did you get involved in music?
Elvin Shlanger: When I was in the fourth grade, my elementary school introduced the band program for the first time. Our new band director played a song on the instruments we would be able to learn so we could hear what they sounded like. On the flute, she played “Hedwig’s Theme” from “Harry Potter,” and I was hooked.
Katelyn Chu: My grandmother introduced me to the cello at a young age, and I have been playing ever since.
Julia Wang: Since the day I was born, my life has been filled with music. My mom is a classically trained pianist, and my aunt (her sister) is a classically trained violinist. It was the natural thing for me to play music as well, and not play a sport.
What is your favorite piece of music? Who is your favorite artist?
ES: Right now I am obsessing over Danzón No. 2 by Arturo Márquez , “The Rite of Spring” by Igor Stravinsky, and Flute Sonata No. 1 by Eric Ewazen. My favorite artist is definitely Emmanuel Pahud. Not only is he an incredible flutist, but a genuine and kind person.
KC: I don’t have a favorite piece (there are too many to choose from) or a composer, but I generally like Baroque orchestral pieces, Tchaikovsky’s cello solos, and instrumental jazz.
JW:I really love Saint-Saens’s “Danse Macabre” and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Also I really love Bernstein’s “Candide.” My favorite artist of all time is Beethoven, because he did not care about what society thought of him or his music. He simply wrote what he wanted. … Without his radical ideas, music would not be the same as it is today.
Who have been your influences?
ES: Athough I have had many teachers and conductors who have inspired me to be the musician and person I am today, my mentor is Bruce Lee. I do not study martial arts but his philosophy truly speaks to me and motivates me. “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks (notes) once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick (note) 10,000 times.”
KC: My grandmother was my first and greatest influence, as she introduced me to the cello. My parents are also very supportive of me and motivated me to persevere. My mentor would be my cello teacher, Ms. Alicia Blanquart, who has helped me grow so much both in technique and appreciation for the arts.
JW: My main influence, both in my development as a musician and as a person, is my mom. Because she is a classically trained pianist, she taught me how to practice effectively and efficiently. She helps me a lot with refining my intonation and phrasing of my pieces, and has always acted as a second set of eyes and ears to my music and my performing skills.
What inspires you?
ES: I am inspired to share music with other people. There’s a feeling you get when you’re listening to a great performance. You close your eyes, you get chills, you almost start making up a story to go along with the piece being performed. I love that I can share that with other people with a glorified piece of plumbing.
KC: My inspiration stems from a desire to create something that will be remembered.
JW: My inspiration is again, my mom. She always does her best at everything she does and because of this, I do the same. We never give less than 100 percent of our dedication and commitment to something, whether that be cleaning the kitchen or preparing for a violin competition.
What is the next challenge you want to take on?
ES: Teaching. I am currently searching for private students not only to challenge myself, but hopefully inspire them to pursue music as I am.
KC: The next challenge I want to take on, musically speaking, is to compose and arrange my own pieces.
JW: Discovering how to combine my four biggest passions, music, science, my love for children and serving others, into a major in college and a career.
Other than music, are you involved in any other activities?
ES: I love camping and the outdoors. As an Eagle Scout, I have been on some amazing trips that I will never forget. There’s something spiritual about nature that everyone can appreciate, like music.
KC: I play golf on my school’s team. I also enjoy drawing, reading and writing, which I spend a large portion of my free time on.
JW: Other than music, I am a very active volunteer at Pretend City Children’s Museum, where I can express my passions for helping my community and working with children. Last year, I also got to incorporate my passion for music when I ran Pretend City’s “Super Sounds for Special Abilities” program, which brought music and the arts to children and families on the autism spectrum.
How do the arts figure into your long-term goals?
ES: Long story short: I want to play. I’d like to be as successful as possibly in the process, but as long as I am playing the flute I will be satisfied. An orchestra position would be ideal, but I would also love to teach at a college, be in the recording industry, or even start a solo career.
KC: The arts are definitely a possibility for me when contemplating a higher education or a career. Even if I do not end up majoring in music, I would like to be involved in it for the rest of my life and help others through the arts.
JW: Although I haven’t yet decided if I am going to major in music, I plan for music to always be a part of my life, in college and beyond.