Daniel Bae is the 2021 Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition Gold Medalist. He will be performing the Korngold Violin Concerto with the Abilene Philharmonic January 14th, 2023 at 7:30 pm at the Abilene Convention Center. In between his busy studies pursuing his Bachelors in Violin Performance at the Juilliard School, he answered a few questions to help us get a better understanding of his background and musical insights.
Who was your first violin teacher?
My very first violin teacher was a high school student! I was very young when I first started (like 4 ½ years old), so it was just sort of like playing around with the instrument more than an actual lesson!
When did you know you wanted to make a career of violin performance?
I was 12 years old when I thought that music was the path for me. Of course, there were many other things I wanted to become (i.e., NASCAR driver, pilot, engineer), but music was at the top of the list of the things that I wanted to do career wise. I just enjoyed doing it!
What are some unique challenges to playing the violin?
Violinists always have to adapt to the different venues/places that we are performing in. We always strive to produce a sound that can project all the way to the back row!
What is your favorite piece of classical music to listen to?
Currently, I love listening to Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. I recently just performed this work as I was part of the Juilliard Orchestra and it really stood out to me particularly, because not only is it a masterpiece but all the harmonies and themes that intertwine within this work is just amazing. It’s like a movie.
What is your favorite piece to perform? What makes it special?
I have to say the Korngold Violin Concerto is currently still my favorite piece to perform. This 20th century piece is filled with so many film music themes and harmonies that really gives you the chills throughout certain places in the work. I’m so honored and excited to be performing this piece with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra January 14th, 2023!
Is there a particular performance of yours that stands out in your memory?
One performance that still stands out in my memory was when I did my very first solo performance with an orchestra. I was 12 years old, and it was with the Youth Orchestra back in Lubbock, TX (which is my hometown) and it was because I had won their concerto competition. I was nervous but extremely excited when I performed with an orchestra for the very first time!
Do you have any non-music related hobbies?
I like going to the gym and working out. It’s a place for me to release any stress, and I like to keep my body in shape. I also like watching and playing soccer and I do play video games from time to time. As a kid, I used to collect Transformers figures (80 of them now) and I still have a whole dedicated shelf back at home that displays them.
What were your expectations prior to your attending Juilliard, and have they changed now that you’ve been a student for a while now?
My expectations prior to attending the Juilliard School were to always have the open mindset to learn anything when the opportunity comes and to always be positive. Now that I have become a student here at Juilliard, I still carry this mindset. Just try to always live in the moment and do the best we can at any given time even if we are thrown unexpected curveballs.
What is your advice to aspiring young music students on how to follow in your footsteps and earn a spot one day at either Juilliard or any other prestigious music schools?
I would have to say to always believe in yourself and never doubt anything. There will always be new obstacles that you will have to face when going up the ladder with what you are passionate about. It will be those curveballs that you have to digest and sacrifices that you have to make in order to get to where you want. And always look for positivity in everything!
What excites you the most about performing with the Abilene Philharmonic?
I am very much looking forward to meeting and working with the Music Director/Maestro David Itkin and the orchestra musicians of the Abilene Philharmonic! Of course, we are going to have a blast performing the wonderful and exhilarating Korngold Violin Concerto!
Contributed By The Abilene Philharmonic