Musician goes from lawn to stage at SPAC

"I loved my teachers there and I loved my classes there, but it was my experiences that shaped my playing," said Chu. "Julliard is what you get from going to a conservatory in a big city."

After Julliard, Chu played violin with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, but eventually left his job to go back to New York in search of freelance work.

Chu also has an interesting story on how he made his switch to the viola over the violin.

While freelancing he went to the Marlboro festival in Vermont, but there were no openings for a violin player, so he just decided to buy a viola to fill an opening. The following two summers he said he only played the viola. The switch wasn't too hard, said Chu, because the viola was similar to playing the violin.

In September 2008 Chu noticed an opening in The Philadelphia Orchestra for a viola player and decided to give it a shot. To his surprise, he was accepted into the orchestra and now his main focus is only on the viola.

"Every section of the orchestra is great," said Chu. "What's special about this orchestra is I really get the sense they are playing with each other a lot of people in this orchestra have known each other for years"

Besides classical music, Chu also enjoys listening to different kinds of rock music and even played with the New York City based rock band Vampire Weekend on their first and second album, along with some live performances. He found out about the opportunity from a fellow classmate at Julliard, who said the band was looking for a violinist who could also play viola.

"It was sweet," said Chu about recording for Vampire Weekend's first album. "I went to the studio in Brooklyn and just recorded all day. I didn't see any music ahead of time and did things on the fly."

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment