Chris Min

My first musical instrument was the Scottish bagpipes. Strangely enough, this happened because I attended a small parochial school in Houston, Texas, where a Scottish highland dancing champion and teacher retired next to my school principal. Music and arguably dancing have been part of my life since I was 5 years old. Shortly after starting the bagpipes I started learning to play the violin.

At the age of 11, my family moved to West Des Moines, Iowa, where I dropped the bagpipes but continued my studies on the violin. Unfortunately, I had typical immigrant Korean parents who were thrilled when I practiced but dismayed when they felt I took music too seriously. There was a key period at around age 14 where I got obsessed with violin, progressed rapidly, and probably spent up to 3 hours a day practicing but eventually hit a wall. My teacher could not help me and my parents did not allow me to change, so I desultorily stopped putting much effort in from age 16 to college.

While at Harvard I studied with Daniel Stepner at the Longy School. However, being a biochemistry major headed to an MD/PhD program, not to mention running the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, I must admit not devoting enough time to my musical studies. Nonetheless I did take a chamber music course, Music 180, with Lynn Chang and Leon Kirchner.

After moving to New York for my graduate studies, I studied with various pedagogues on and off over the years. Currently, I’m working with Alex Fortes and am a member of a community chamber orchestra called Camerata Notturna. Most recently I did a solo recital in June 2019 where I performed an hour of music—the first recital I had performed since I did one in graduate school at The Rockefeller University as part of their Friday noon Tri-institutional music program.

While I have never taken the baton before, I would very much like to have the experience of trying to convey musical ideas through  the playing of others, and am grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this conducting workshop.