Latest Passion

An Interview with Jane Yang: a True Violinist

Jane Yang is a University of Toronto music grad who plays the violin. She not only has a lot of things going on, but she was also recently given the opportunity to play alongside Michael Bublé on his summer tour. I was lucky enough to steal some of her time to ask her some questions. Check out what she had to say!

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Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your passions? Your work?
I am a Violinist working and living in Toronto. On a daily basis, I wear many hats. I am a music instructor for Sistema Toronto, developing my private teaching studio, and performing on the side.

Do you have personal ventures? How do they influence your day-to-day activities and goals?
Nothing specific per se, but I strive to love what I do, wherever I am. I feel like it keeps me in the mode of thankfulness, purpose, and drive. I truly love teaching, so maybe one day I’ll teach somewhere overseas and have fun with rural communities through music.

Have you always been interested in music?
Since I can remember! My entire family is musical, so we always had something going on in the house, whether it was my mom teaching piano, my dad singing to Pavarotti (he’s a great Baritone by the way), or my brother practicing cello or guitar.

Do you have a favourite song to perform? If so can you explain why?
I don’t have a favourite song, but I do enjoy playing works by the three B’s: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms. Traditional, I know, but they write so well for the violin and it makes my heart ache because its so beautiful. It’s also timeless and speaks to an audience in such a powerful way. It’s no wonder classical artists keep it in their repertoire all the time.

When did you decide to follow your dreams? Was it always something you expected to do, or did you just get headstrong and decide to do it?
It’s a little bit of both. From the moment I touched the violin, I seemed to think that the violin chose me, and there was nothing I could do about it. At one point, I denied my desire to pursue music. I mean, there was always the option of becoming a veterinarian, a marine biologist, a mermaid, or a doctor, but then I discovered that I needed math. I hated math. The “aha!” moment was when I played Brahms Symphony No. 2 with a youth orchestra concert in Roy Thomson Hall. I just knew that I had to emerge myself in moments like that for the rest of my life.
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How did you get involved in the Michael Bublé Tour?

Another fellow violinist was contracting for part of the tour in Toronto and London. She called me up, offered me the gig, and I gladly cleared my schedule that weekend.

Are there any backstage rituals the general public would be intrigued to hear about?
For collaborative gigs nothing interesting, but for solo concerts I like to get ready alone if I can. I love the calm before the storm. This way I can have some time to pray and gain some strength, warm up, and remind myself that I love what I do.

If you could pick anyone to play alongside, dead or alive who would it be? Why?
Never thought about this before. Off the top of my head, I would love to play with Beyonce! Might seem really random, but she’s just so fierce and I look up to her for that. All women ought to feel empowered like she does.

What piece of advice would you give to aspiring artists?
One piece of advice I can give: If you are brave enough to stay true to yourself, and to never ignore the needs of this world, you will find your niche.

How do you think music has influenced your life?
Music has always been a part of my life, and I guess it has taken me to very interesting paths, like meeting brilliant people, learning important life lessons from music teachers, and moments of extreme confrontation and criticism as an artist. Music has helped shape who I am, made me question my purpose on a spiritual level, and to find my grounding in the midst of all the chaos.
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What would your life look like without music?
I think I would still be an artist of some sort, or borderline hipster (just kidding).

What is the importance of the violin to you? What made you start playing it? How is it different from other instruments?
The violin has a varying sound that reaches into lower registers, as well as extremely high registers, so its like having endless possibilities with just a tiny instrument. To me, the violin is a voice, a different shade, color, pattern, shape, texture, filled with emotion. As a child, I first thought of the violin as a little wooden friend that made funny noises, and I soon realized that every time I played, it sounded exactly how I felt. That’s why I feel like it chose me.

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Okay, here are some speed questions. Answer with the first thing to pop into your head. No explanation needed. Ready? Set. GO!
  1.  Team Peeta or Team Gale?
    Haven’t watched The Hunger Games! (so guilty, I know).
  2.  Walking Dead or Game of Thrones?
    Haven’t watched those either! (double guilty).
  3. Tea or Coffee?
    Coffee.
  4.  World Cup or Stanley Cup?
    World Cup.
  5. Emma Stone or Jennifer Lawrence?
    BEYONCÉ.
  6.  Michael Bublé or Josh Groban?
    Michael Bublé.
  7. Favorite Canadian dish?
    Bacon.
  8. Favorite Movie?
    Pride and Prejudice (2011)
  9. Guilty Pleasure?
    Hipster cafés
  10. Favorite snack?
    Black Iced coffee and Banana Loaf from Starbucks.
  11. Finish this sentence: I hate_____:
    Pigeons.
  12. Finish this sentence: I’m addicted to _____:
    Chicken Biryani

Thank you so much Jane! We loved your answers!

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About Ayelen Barrios Ruiz Pagano (13 Articles)
Ayelen Barrios Ruiz Pagano lives in the Greater Toronto Area. She is a recent grad with a strong desire to be a Disney princess. A romcom fanatic, a book worm, a movie buff, and a TV lover. She spends her days dreaming of Mr. Darcy in between drinking tea and writing. She is the writer, creator, and sometimes director of the YouTube channel thewhyw. You can find follow her on Tumblr and Facebook.

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