We had the good fortune of connecting with Cora Chung and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cora, why did you pursue a creative career?
I always knew music was my calling, but I didn’t know where life would lead me. I was lucky to start classical music training when I was four and learned various instruments and music styles growing up. I had great opportunities to play in the professional orchestra, produce a high school musical, conduct a girl choir, perform Taiwanese opera and Nanguan music at high attendance events. Every little achievement made me question more about my life journey. There’s always so many new things that can be learned and explored which excites me. Every new challenge is like an adventure to the unknown. I always want to be a great cellist. When I first performed in the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing with the orchestra, I had goosebumps the whole night. I thought it might be the highlight of my life. Years later, after I start my career as a composer, when the short film I scored “Disconnected” premiered at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood, I realized these are just the sparks to push me moving further to a bigger dream. I am not a famous cellist like Yo-Yo Ma, Rostropovich, or any big name, but I became myself with my own music voice. Being a composer, I ruminate about life. It is through the process of internalizing emotions, becoming more aware, and evolving the soul, that inspires my compositions. I believe film is a powerful tool to change the world. Through narrative storytelling, you can share disruptive ideas and invite people to think differently. Film music is a language to break barriers, to connect the audiences to a different world. I enjoy being a film-multimedia composer and musician in order to share perspective, beauty, and joy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Born and raised in Taiwan, I am grateful to have grown up surrounded by amazing landscapes and rich culture. I have also had the opportunity of performing and traveling around the world. These experiences shaped my appreciation of both Eastern and Western perspectives. Making music is a process of emotional catharsis and awareness for me, it is a very lonely but fantastic adventure. I believe hard work, persistence, and believing in people is the key. If there’s an obstacle, communication is everything. The amazing part about collaboration is that you are not alone. There are always your teammates, and in working together we can achieve something greater. That’s what I like about collaboration. Being a creator, life is never easy. It is so beautiful, yet vulnerable. I want to be a composer and performer who breaks genre barriers, combines the beauty of diversity, and represents the voice of my generation.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Griffith Observatory, Central Library, and the Huntington Library are my favorite places in Los Angeles. I can spend all day everyday there to get inspiration. If you like hiking, Solstice Canyon trail is definitely the best place to check out. For the food, Tsujita ramen and Pot of Cha are my long term favorites. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout all of my friends, mentors, and families whose support has brough me here. I would not have gotten this far without any of their help. I want to to thank Columbia College Chicago for sharpening my skills; the amazing Sundance Institute in recognizing my work and encouraging me to embrace the unknown. I want to thank all my collaborators for having faith in me, and all my beloved friends who always take care of me. Special thanks for the Society of Composers and Lyricists(SCL), the Alliance of Women Film Composers(AWFC) and the Composer Diversity Collective(CDC); those amazing talented artists inspire me daily. Last but not least, my dearest family who have continued to support me throughout my journey. I am very grateful to have you all in my life! From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all health, happiness, and success.
Wendy Chen Eron Rauch Ron Thomas Berrie Tsang Monique Shang