On Friday, PYSO hosted its first Beyond the Notes Zoom session, with special guest Teng Li. Teng Li is currently the principal violist in the LA Philharmonic, Artistic Director of the Morningside Music Bridge, and friend of PYSO Music Director Earl Lee.

Maestro Lee started the session with saying, “Music really binds us together. I thought meeting like this with established musicians around the world to kind of help you and guide you through would be a great method to bring us together.”

Teng Li then preformed Henri Vieuxtemps’ Capriccio “Homage à Paganini” 

Teng Li started playing violin when her father bought her one for her 2nd birthday. She entered China’s prestigious Central Conservatory at 9 years old as a violinist. By middle school, she switched to viola, and eventually met Earl at Morningside Music Bridge in Calgary, Canada. Li later studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she really learned to slow down and think about  the music. 

“Once you have the piece memorized, sometimes you need to put your instrument down and look at the music…Don’t play by habit, look at the music, and think about other possibilities, and look at what you’ve forgotten.”

Teng Li then performed Bach 2nd Cello Suite, before discussing her experiences as a leader.

“As a leader, you have to of course play as a leader, but the most important thing is that you are like a coordinator. You try to get them to talk to you about problems, and then talk about how you are going to solve them together.”

The talk was ended with a question and answer session, and a beautiful final performance by Teng Li, of a transcription of a Chinese piece titled “the Moon Reflected on the Er-Quan”

Many thanks to Teng Li for taking the time to share her stories and insights!

There are two more Beyond the Notes sessions coming up this week. On Wednesday June 17th at 4PM, Violinist Stefan Jackiw will talk about the life of a musician as a college student and beyond. On Friday the 19th at 4PM, Percussionist, composer, and educator Pius Cheung will discuss the life of a performer and composer. For more information, visit  https://pyso.org/beyond-the-notes/

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