ASO’s Artist in Association Emily Sun takes to the stage with the orchestra on three occasions in 2023. Take some time to get to know why music is Emily’s passion and what she’s looking forward to performing with the ASO.
Do you come from a musical family? What sparked your passion for music and in particular the violin?
My father, Daniel Yi Sun, was a prominent composer and lecturer of the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing – he was the first generation to enter the Conservatory as a student after the fall of the Cultural Revolution in China, and his classmates included luminaries such as Tan Dun and Chen Yi. Before he became a composer, he was originally a violinist – during the Cultural Revolution when Western music was banned, the only way my father could practice Tchaikovsky and Beethoven would be to hike to the top of a deserted mountain where no one could hear him play – otherwise he would be charged as a traitor and thrown in jail! I grew up around music; my sister played the cello and I wanted one too, so I was given a tiny violin.
You have just been appointed as ASO’s Artist in Association how does this make you feel?
I am so thrilled to be the ASO Artist in Association for 2023. To be able to deepen the connection with the musicians of the orchestra over several performances over the year; to build the trust with the orchestra in order take real risks in performance, knowing that you are breathing together in unity; it is a real privilege to have the opportunity to explore and push the limits of creativity with the wonderful musicians of the ASO!
You open the ASO’s 2023 Season with Conductor Guy Noble in Orchestra Unwrapped. The concert has a magic theme, what makes the repertoire you’ll be performing magical?
I will be performing Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo, and Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy. Both works are highly virtuosic, and full of life, character and magic! The Valse-Scherzo by Tchaikovsky is filled with short articulated staccatos and double-stops in quick succession with a lighthearted scherzo feel, which give a feeling of whimsical enchantment. Sarasate’s Fantasy on themes from Bizet’s Carmen reiterate the famous themes with extended techniques in the violin such as left hand pizzicato and harmonics – which I always feel is almost an optical illusion we create as violinists, sometimes the audience can never be sure exactly how we are making that special sound using the extended techniques!
What makes the experience of live music special?
Nothing can replicate the excitement of a live music performance. Inevitably, the same piece of music can never be replayed exactly the same way, even if it’s played by the same people. As a performer, we might feel the same music in a different way, a different nuance on a particular night to a particular audience. Experiencing that one special moment in a phrase, in a piece of music that can never be the same again to be there in that moment in the audience or on stage is something that is really magical. We cannot underestimate the importance of the audiences in live performance, who are the ones who inspire us the most with their energy and intention!
What are you most looking forward to doing when you are in Adelaide?
It will be such a joy to reconnect with the musicians of the ASO, and the rest of the artistic team of this fantastic orchestra. And – sampling some fine South Australian wines from Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills!