We had the good fortune of connecting with Chihsuan Yang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chihsuan, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risking taking is a mindset. I think that is part of where courage comes from. Changing the feeling of anxiety and fear into the feeling of excitement. We are all much more courageous when excited rather than when anxious and fearful. To me, courage is something you have or do not have from the inside. It can be exercised but some people just naturally possess it. However, as long as you are willing to work extremely hard, think creatively, and ask others for help when needed, you can accomplish your wildest dreams. As a native of Taipei, Taiwan. Moving to a different country when I was 15 was a true test of my adaptability, courage, and character. The prospect of continuing my education overseas both scared and excited me. Some would say that becoming a successful musician is one of the most difficult career paths to go down. Not in the same way becoming a doctor is, but rather you are forced to go against the societal grain and with no 401K plan in sight. There are no work “benefits” to being a free lance musician, no guarantees that the thousands and thousands of hours put into refining your craft will ever pay off. Being a musician by trade is a giant leap of faith, a commitment to a life of uncertain financial security, and a huge risk. After 20 years of studying classical music, I found that I needed more creative freedom than the genre could offer. I started to expand my horizon beyond the classical repertoire and set out to broaden my body of work into other musical genres. It was not always easy and smooth but I have learned a ton from countless amazing artists along the way. Each one of them has left their unique fingerprints on my life and career. Those experience have shaped who I am and what I do forever. My interest in all types of music revealed opportunities far beyond my imagination: from playing chamber music with a legend to performing for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Courage is not the same as having no fear. It is having fear and moving forward anyway. I am embarking on a life knowing that if I ever failed, my family and friends would have my back. Because I would do the same for them. I plan to continue sharing my love for music, following my heart and passion in life. I will surround myself with the right people, be willing to adopt and not be afraid to take the road less traveled. I hope we can all set ourselves free by trusting and letting go in order to grow and evolve. Keep living our truth. Because future belongs to the brave.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
From the time I was a young child, I was happiest when I had something to offer the world; how a simple song could lift spirits, bring people together, and express emotions far beyond words. Being an immigrant, I left the comfort of family when I was 15. I quickly learned American culture, some of which seemed strange and alien to me…even to this day. Often, my only comfort and solace was in playing music. 20 years of classical training gave me the skills to expand my horizons beyond tradition, it also provided me with the experience and foundation needed for a disciplined work ethic and granted me fluency in the universal language of music. I wanted to be more than a virtuosic technician. My works with violin, erhu, piano, and voice have been featured in various media outlets, such as radio, television, audio books, and movie trailers. I feel more than grateful to be able to bring music into this world while teaching the next generation I am forever humbled and inspired whenever I have an opportunity to interact with all walks of life. I hope to continue my travels with music in my heart, collecting each fulfilling experience, and sharing my unconditional love for music with those whose paths may cross my own. While sharing my knowledge and spreading awareness of my work are important to me, there is a deeper, more profound objective. It lives within the exhilarating exchange of energy between listener and performer and is the driving force behind my creativity and musical appreciation: to witness segregations of language, race, or religion dissolve within a melodic movement. To act as a bridge between cultural diversities is the essence of being a musician. As I continue to explore how music unites and uplifts others, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for how it has enriched my life. And if I can help others to inspire, heal, and unite through my work, then I will have truly served my purpose to the best of my potential.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would absolutely take them to the beach and spend a whole afternoon there and catch the sunset. I love Huntington Library and the Getty. It would be on top my list to spend a day at either. Then grab some Leo’s taco truck and check out live music (after the pandemic of course).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
1. Stephanie Bassos 2. Todd Rosenberg 3. Todd Rosenberg 4. Todd Rosenberg 5. John Boehm 6. Will Sullivan