Nine-year-old Julia began violin lessons at age four with Sarah Tittering-Ibbett, and then started studying with her current teacher, Jenna Potts, at the age of five. Julia has enjoyed performing at various local venues. She has been part of the violin section of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra led by Martha Zurad. In the summers, Julia has enjoyed studying at the Rivers Conservatory summer program in Weston.
In addition to violin, Julia plays piano and studies with Mrs. Helena Vesterman. Julia has performed at famed venues such as New York City’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She studies music composition with Shirley Lum and has recently passed the Royal Conservatory of Music Harmony 9 examination.
Julia is currently in the fourth grade in Wellesley. Aside from music, she also enjoys swimming and figure skating.
Julia will play “Czardas” by Vittorio Monti (1868-1920) at our “Joyous Festival” Holiday Pops on December 1st.
INTERVIEW WITH JULIA YEE
You started violin lessons at age 5. What made you interested in playing the violin?
My mom started me with violin when I was four, and I liked the sound from the violin. As I progressed, I learned to play some fun pieces with pizzicato and different bow techniques. I really like how the violin allows me to play expressively with different vibrato sounds. I can try to make it sing like a human voice.
You also play piano. Is there an important difference to you between the two instruments? Do you have a favorite?
My favorite is the violin. The violin allows me to do more with individual notes. For example, when I play a note, I can make the sound grow warmer or louder, and this is something almost impossible with the piano. Also, I can create many different types of sound with the bow; I can make a floating, “ghosty” sound using a flotando bow and also have my violin “sing” a whistle-like tune using harmonics high up on the strings. However, with the violin, I am limited with the number of notes I can play at once. With the piano, I can play many at once–in a Bach Fugue, I can even play multiple “voices” at the same time, just like a small ensemble.
You’ve played at some very interesting venues, including Carnegie Hall in NYC. Do you have any memories of special experiences during your travels or performances that you’d like to share?
Playing at Carnegie Hall was a fabulous experience! It is a very beautiful concert hall, elegantly decorated. I also enjoyed our trip to New York City, which is very different from Boston. I enjoyed exploring different neighborhoods and visiting amazing museums. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is very interesting because it has many different types of art from different time periods, and I even saw items from Ancient Egypt. Its location in Manhattan is great; from the rooftop patio, we could see the entire city of New York.
At our Holiday Pops on December 1st, you’ll be playing “Czardas” by Vittorio Monti. Can you tell us about the piece, and what it means to you?
The Czardas is a Hungarian dance with a slow introduction and a fast, wild finish. It is a fun and challenging piece that allows the violinist to show off. The Italian composer Monti, wrote “Czardas” in 1904, and composed it in 7 sections, each allowing the violinist to be very expressive and free. There are slow melodic parts that showcase the violin’s singing voice, and I can pour out vibratos. But also, there are rapid passages that display fancy violin finger work. Then there is also a section where the violin plays the returning melody in “harmonics”.
We’re so happy to have you playing at the Pops! How do you feel about playing with the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra?
I am excited to have this opportunity to play with the Waltham Philharmonic. While I have played as a violinist as part of an orchestra, this is the first time I will get to play as a soloist with an orchestra. I have attended the WPO’s Holiday Pops Concert in the past and had a fantastic time. I can’t believe I will get to play in this festive concert this year!