At what age and how did you choose your instrument?

Since I'm an only child, my parents started me out on a variety of instruments and other artistic fields when I was 3 years old to give me a chance to interact with other kids. Violin, along with piano, are the ones that mini-me enjoyed the most! I especially love that playing the violin offers many opportunities to work with other musicians: I’ve been a part of orchestras and chamber ensembles for my entire musical life. On top of that, the wide solo and orchestral repertoire that the violin has is quite impressive and never ceases to excite me!

What is your full-time profession and how do you balance it with music?

I am currently a full-time student at UCLA, with a major in biology and minor in music industry. Music has provided me with a sense of balance in life: I think that my life outside of music wouldn’t exist without my life in music, and vice versa. I find it refreshing to switch between academics and music; more often than not, one discipline provides me with a renewed perspective on the other. Of course, there are times when practicing and doing schoolwork can seem a little like a juggling game. But ultimately, the joy and stability I feel from playing music has kept me hooked!

What does chamber music mean to you?

Chamber music has allowed me to feel connected with fellow musicians and learn about other instruments. I love the concept of multiple instruments collaborating to form one cohesive, harmonious sound; amazing things happen when musicians come together to create something bigger than one person. Playing chamber music has also taught me a great deal about communication, cooperation and group dynamics.

What motivated you to join the VCO?

I was introduced to VCO by a great friend. The love of music that everyone in this orchestra shares has been evident since the first rehearsal. It is inspiring to be within such an amazingly unique group of people who are not only musically talented but are also diverse in their professions and backgrounds. Most of all, Zain and all the musicians are incredibly friendly; the warm and welcoming atmosphere that they create keeps me coming back. The true sense of community I feel with this group is unlike any other. All of this makes me very grateful to be a member of the VCO!

Do you have any advice for young musicians?

Music is a powerful thing: it can make people from all around the world feel a greater sense of belonging and togetherness. By transcending time and language, music has the potential to unite people in a special way. As a musician, I think it’s key to remember that, especially at times when life can seem challenging or daunting; the power of music will always be there, and you can count on it to remind you and others that no one is ever alone. At the core of it all is your ability as a musician to connect with people on levels that otherwise may not be possible without music. Joining an orchestra is a great way to experience those connections and meet others who share your passion!

Updated July 2019