Chamber Music students coached by Hsiao-mei Ku don't let separation keep them from making music together.
Haoyang Yu (violin), Peter Nam (cello), and Crystal Chiu (piano) each performed their parts separately from their homes. The separate recordings were then edited together by Rick Nelson. The video on the left is an excerpt from the 4th movement of Mendelssohn's Piano Trio in D Minor.
The students are taught by Professor Hsiao-mei Ku. She writes, "Through Zoom coaching sessions during the last month and a half, my chamber music students have not only shown their resilience, but also turned this seemingly disadvantage situation [separation due to Covid-19] into something beautiful and memorable. Many life skills can be learned through participating in music ensembles, big and small. From my experience, studying chamber music means to listen, to dive, to climb, to give and to receive, to lead, to join, to share, to create, to achieve, to express, to reassess, to respect and to embrace both challenges and criticism, to inspire and to support each other, and all activities in which humans can interact. I feel humbled to work with these students and I have learned much more from them than I have taught them. They are my inspirations!"
The students also shared why making music is a vital part of their college experience:
Haoyang Yu, Class of 2022: I’m a sophomore from Chicago, IL, double majoring in math and financial economics and minoring in philosophy, and I’ve been playing the violin for 16 years. Music has been a way to keep me grounded amidst the classes, clubs, and everything else that comes with college, and I’ve learned so much through chamber music at Duke, whether it be musically, intellectually, or emotionally.
Peter Nam, Class of 2023: I am a freshman biology major from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I started learning the cello in middle school, and playing music is still one of my favorite activities, especially with friends. This past semester was my first time playing in a chamber group at Duke. I really enjoyed working closely with our coach and the other members of the trio.
Crystal Chiu, Class of 2022: I am a rising junior from New Jersey majoring in Chemistry and Music. Because music has been an integral part of my identity since the age of four, I knew going into college that it was something that I wanted to continue pursuing. To that end, I’ve been a part of the chamber music program at Duke since my freshman fall, especially because it provides an incredible opportunity for me to engage in collaborative music spaces, which are sometimes hard to find as a pianist. Playing with chamber groups each semester has broadened my understanding of music beyond basic technique and musicality, pushing me to press in to the vulnerability and emotional depth necessary to create music that is not simply “good”, but impactful. I’m grateful to also work so closely with professors/coaches, as their feedback and encouragement constantly drives me to be a better musician.