Meet tubist and first-year master's degree candidate Vivian Kung. Vivian spoke with us about expanding her repertoire, working with faculty tubist Carol Jantsch, and more.
Q: How are you hoping to broaden the scope of your music education as you begin your studies at Yale?
A: There is such a diverse pool of talent here in the student body, and I hope that I'll be able to work with my peers to expand upon my current musical experiences. I think that classical music is on a path to greater visibility for under-represented composers and performers because of the political climate, so I plan to incorporate more conscious and equitable programming and research in my performances.
Q: Will you continue to serve your interest in drum corps and the pageantry arts during your time at YSM?
A: My start in serious tuba playing actually has its roots in drum corps, so the pageantry arts will always have a special place in my heart! I've really enjoyed working with high school marching bands over the last several years, but a lot of that is on hold because of the pandemic. I hope more of that teaching can continue (if in a different format) while I'm at YSM.
Q: What attracted you to Prof. Jantsch’s YSM tuba studio?
A: I had a lesson with Prof. Jantsch prior to my audition, and found her teaching style to be one that I really benefited from. She has a fantastic ear for detail and musicality, which I think is what really rounds out a great tuba player. She really pushes me to make more of my own musical decisions, and to have the courage to tackle my weaknesses head-on.
Q: How do you hope to see your career unfold during and after your time at YSM?
A: A lot of working as a musician is based in collaboration, so I hope that I can maintain strong ties with the friends I'll make here over the next two years. The tuba is such a versatile instrument (which I think not everyone realizes!), and I'm excited to take some steps to widen my repertoire and professional experiences while I'm at YSM.
Q: How did you exercise your creativity this summer?
A: I took up a few arranging projects. Prof. Jantsch encourages us to work on transcribing and arranging works for tuba, and I've had a lot of fun putting together some smaller pieces to multitrack to. My favorite one has been an arrangement of "The Valley is Alive" from a video game I play, Stardew Valley!
Q: What have you been reading, listening to, and watching lately?
A: Honestly, anything and everything! Cooking is something I really enjoy outside of music, so the Netflix series Street Food has been one of my favorite shows. My two favorite books from quarantine time are So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui.
This is the third installment in a series called Generation YSM: Fall 2020.