Finding a World in Music

Yue Yang strives to become a violinist

By Elisabeth Kamaka

Yue Yang was not planning on studying music when she first arrived at college in the U.S.  She was interested in biology and political science.

Now a senior majoring in music at Bryn Mawr College, Yang, a 21-year-old violinist, has risen in the ranks, holding the coveted title of Concertmaster of the Haverford-Bryn Mawr Bi-Co Orchestra.

As concertmaster, Yang is the lead violin and the assistant conductor of the orchestra. This unexpected turn in Yang’s education and career path sum up her belief that we each have our calling, something we were meant to do in our lives.

Born in 1994 in the southeastern coastal province of Zhejiang, China, Yang started the violin at age four because her family “wanted me to start music.”

Her father had a colleague who played the violin and offered to give Yang and her brother

Yue Yang

Yue Yang

lessons. After Yang won a prize in a small competition, her parents decided to continue her violin lessons with another teacher. However, Yang “only played [the violin] for fun” even as other students around her were beginning to take their musical training very seriously.

Yang’s early musical influence began at home. Her family loved music. When she thinks back to her childhood, she recall a time when there wasn’t music in her life. Even before she started playing the violin, Yang’s father would play pop tunes on the family piano for Yang and her brother.

Yang’s brother later quit the violin to play the piano, influenced by the joy that the piano had brought to the family.

Other family influences kept Yang close to music. Her uncle is a music professor at Shanghai University. There is great pride that comes from the accomplishments of family members and Yang said her uncle “influenced me even though we were not close.”

High school brought many changes. Yang was enrolled in a boarding school in Ningbo, also located in the province of Zhejiang and would only go home about once a month. Although this initial separation from her family during her teen years was difficult, Yang said that it helped her immensely when moved to the U.S. to attend college.

While attending Ningbo Xiaoshi High School, Yang joined the orchestra, which was “the only high school with an orchestra in [her] province.” Yang continued to pay the violin for fun, never imagining that one-day it would be her career.

Go to Bryn Mawr

When she began to look into colleges, a friend from high school recommended that she apply to Bryn Mawr College in the US.  Yang chose Bryn Mawr because she liked the location and its proximity to Philadelphia, as well as its rich and unique heritage. Of course, she adds: “financial aid was a major factor.”

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