Fourth Episode: Mozart likes underdogs: the Viola

The upcoming VSO concert dedicates one of its program points to the Sinfonia Concertante by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – a short piece showcasing the virtuosity of the violin and viola — a rarely featured instrument in 1779, the year of the Sinfonica Concertante’s publication. In today’s episode, we are zooming into the sociological and historical setup of Mozart and the viola.

I couldn’t be joined by a more qualified person to chat with, the principal viola of the VSO, Huang Wei Hung!

Born in Taipei Taiwan, Violist Hung Huang -Wei was serving as a Principal Viola in the  Hong Kong, Seoul Philharmonic and Guest Principal Viola of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a guest professor at the Korean National University of Art. And in 2020, he won the position of Principal Viola of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Find tickets for the upcoming concert at the VSO here:



Related links:

Third Episode: early tourism to the Hebdrides and Mendelssohn’s “Fingal’s Cave”

I am excited about the upcoming European travel logs, including the Italian Symphony, Satie’s Gymnopedie’s as well as The Hebrides (Overture)!


I met up with Andrew Steiner, PhD Candidate in the Geology Department at UBC. Since he is originally from Scotland, and has done a fair amount on geological features in the Hebrides, he is the perfect addition to understand Mendelssohn’s Hebrides!

Find some of the pictures we discuss below — note the feature of steamboats in both Mendelssohn’s drawing as well as Turner’s painting — state of the art tourism technology!

Enjoy, and I hope to see you at the VSO on February 3/4/6! 



The island of Staffa

Sketch of a scene by Felix Mendelssohn found in his letter of August 1, 1829 to his sister Fanny

(original in the Music Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts)

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Staffa, Fingal’s Cave, ca. 1831–32. Oil on canvas. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection



Second Episode: Rachmaninoff’s physical and psychological spaces

In our second episode, Tatiana Dardikyna from the Peletsis-Dardykina Piano Duo joins me. She grew up and lived both in Russia, the US as well as Canada and shares her experiences as a Russian emigré and pianist as well as her vast knowledge of Rachmaninoff’s spaces and places. Listen in to our assessments about the strain on mental health while being a composer, performer and teacher in the turbulent first 20th century!

Rachmaninoff in front of a redwood tree -- a real Californian! Source: Wikimedia Commons
Rachmaninoff in front of a redwood tree — representing!  Source: Wikimedia Commons


Find the referenced music performance here, or join us at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for the live performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Strauss’ Don Juan on November 5 and 6 2021!

First Episode: Bach, dynamic climates and dynamic gear talk!

In this first episode, the Pianist Jean-Sebastian joins me for our talk about the dynamics of Johann Sebastian Bach – we approach the topic of “dynamics”, playing low or loud, by thinking about both temperature alterations as well as sound alterations. Here you will hear us chat about the extraordinary cold spell of the 17th century, also coined the “Little Ice Age”, and the (im)possibilities of Bach’s instrumental interpretations and choices, as you will also hear both the harpsichord and the modern piano in the upcoming concert with the VSO.

Join us for the VSO Concert, October 23 and 24.

Avercamp, Hendrick – Winterlandschap met schaatsers, circa 1608 – Bach’s Birthday falls approximately 50 years after this Hendrick Avercamp painted this! 



Find the audio recording of our conversation here:



Want more? Here are the referenced youtube videos!