Interview with Micah Hunter Chang [Jake Schindler]



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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Alright what is your name?

My name is Micah Hunter Chang.

What year are you?

I’m a junior.

Where are you from?


What instrument do you play?

I play violin.

How long have you been playing that instrument and do you have experience with any other instruments including singing and how long have you been playing that other instrument?

I’ve been playing violin for 13 years. I've been singing I suppose let’s go with high school since high school so that would be 7 years - wow that’s a long time- and I played trumpet for 5 years.

When did you play trumpet?

Middle school and high school.

I did the same thing.

I also played guitar, again since high school so 5 years.

Can you tell me a general overview of your past playing with playing violin and any awards or honors you had scholarships or maybe being invited to play with the symphony etcetera?

Um, yeah, so, sorry, um. If you actually want, um I'll just hit the highlights. I'm sorry. That sounds really obnoxious.

Just like since high school.

Since high school? Ok, I got a pretty generous scholarship for, uh, I got some money basically when I graduated um and I got some more money to be here and I got an individual award, um, again with this music department and um I also won the concerto competition and I also got like a few other miscellaneous awards from different festivals and stuff when I was in high school.

Segment Synopsis: Micah talks about his experience with singing and the violin.

Keywords: quartet; string; violin

Subjects: orchestra; quartet; string; violin

00:02:03 - String Quartet

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Partial Transcript: How long have you been in quartet, string quartet?

Since 7th grade of Middle School.

How long have you been in the string quartet at Richmond?

Uh, this one? So we just had someone graduate this year so with this particular makeup of people?

Just the group in general.

Then since the spring semester of freshman year.

What is your favorite piece you've played with this group?

Probably the Ravel, the one that we're working on right now.

What's your favorite part about the group?

Um, it’s a group of high-level musicians who get to come together and make really honestly good, normally, good music but also have a lot of fun doing it like we're not we're not pretentious. I don't think.

Um, is it for Credit?

Um yeah, yeah, its for credit.

How many?

Half a unit.

How often do you meet?

Twice a week.
Um, Fridays at 8 a.m. and Mondays at like, uh, 7:30 I think?

Um, do you perform like other groups such as Schola or other groups on campus that count as credit?

Me personally?

No, just the quartet group.

We have to play for the chamber Ensemble concert at the end of every semester and frequently we’ll be like reeled in for music gigs um like we just did one this past weekend, and sometimes we’re also recruited to play in rep class as well.

Segment Synopsis: Micah talks about the string quartet, including his favorite piece and their rehearsal schedule.

Keywords: performance; string quartet

Subjects: string quartet

00:03:53 - Group Dynamic

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Partial Transcript: Um, Would you say it is a good learning environment?
Can you elaborate?
I mean(pause) Yeah it's sort of like you you're just put into this group of people and you're given some music and you got to make it happen and that's you know sort of a very you’re on your feet kind of thing. Um we also have coaching so that's helpful as well and we do some score study and listen to the music a lot and it's hard to make it happen especially because quartet music is normally much more individual and everything else.

Um, so you said something about coaching, who is the coach and what does he do with the quartet?

Um our coach is Jason he's John's cello teacher um and he coaches us, so anything you would expect you to do like uh work on score study, help us through individual parts- we only meet with him on the Friday morning um that's our coaching rehearsal. Um yeah, he’s great.

Is he a professor of anything or is he just a teacher?

He’s uh yeah a teacher.

Um, going off that would you say this group is mainly student run since you only practice with him once?

I mean we schedule all of our rehearsals um, Dr. Kong who is the program director for chamber ensembles will come in every now and then just to listen in and just to see how it's going and if we have any questions or complaints we can field them to her but generally yeah it's it's pretty student-run.

Um, do you think a student-run group is more free and relaxed than when there is an adult in the room?

Um, (pause) no I don't really think so um, I think probably a lot of it depends on the group, but with this quartet particularly we are pretty equally focused on our own and with an adult I guess because we're 1. really comfortable with the adult and 2. um naturally very focused on the music in the first place.

Do you practice your parts on your own?

Um, do I? (Laughs) I should I've only practiced my part once but my parts somewhat easier than it has been in the past. Um, I wish I practiced more.

Can you list the people in the quartet name year and instrument?

Sure um Lillian Hughes plays viola in this quartet, normally plays violin, she's a senior, John Cavalieri is also a senior and plays cello, and Matthew Robinson is a freshman and plays violin- violin 1 for this.

Segment Synopsis: Micah discusses the group dynamic of the quartet and how he feels about the student run aspect.

Keywords: environment; group dynamic; learning; student run

Subjects: group dynamic; music; student run

00:06:41 - Music Scene at Richmond

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Partial Transcript: Um, when it comes to the music scene at Richmond how do you think it differs from other schools obviously you don't really know other schools but how do you think it differs?

Um, it’s way less competitive because it’s a much smaller program. Generally speaking I think that the programs aren’t the best just because there's not a lot of feed in from such a small student population. Um and even though we have really good music scholarships there aren't enough, uh, like there just isn't enough support within either the the students or really I guess sometimes the faculty and administration depending on what the group is, so for strings I don't think they really get a lot of support which is fine because it's a really tiny program and is kind of irrelevant to the school.

Um, these are some of the bigger questions how so just think about that. Do you think music at the University of Richmond brings people from different backgrounds together? And if you, depending on your answer, you can say a little bit more about it.

Um, sure I mean like with string quartets I feel like um string music generally speaking like orchestral players tend to be a little more, uh homogeneous culturally than other groups but like you know in our a cappella group you do end up interacting with a lot a lot of different people but I also like the- I never would have been friends with John if um it weren't for this quartet like he’s in a frat, he’s on like that the club soccer team, he’s just like a cool guy and, actually I guess he is a physics major, not that that’s not cool, sorry, an analytical chem major, not a physics major, but they’re definitely developing friendships with people that I wouldn't necessarily have otherwise even if we aren't that different.

Um, do you think the music at the University of Richmond brings people that aren't interest- aren't interested in music together? That's supposed to say are interested in music together- through performances uh do you think it brings people who enjoy the music together as a community, much like how athletic events bring people who like sports together as a group of fans, so people that would like come out to your concerts, do you think that, they’re mostly like-

independent, or do they develop a community?

Um, I mean you know the unfortunate reality of going to a concert is you're not supposed to talk during the program, I don't think it really, I mean, that sounds really cold, no I don't think it brings people together on this campus particularly because most of the people who come in aren't even on campus anyways and if they do then they're already in a community and that's the whole reason why they’re there.

Segment Synopsis: Micah discusses his feelings about the music scene at the University.

Keywords: community; music; quartet; richmond

Subjects: community; music; richmond; scene

00:09:40 - Other Groups on Campus

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Partial Transcript: Um, are you in any other groups on campus?

Um, yeah I am in Orchestra, sorry, the the symphony, the Richmond symphony, University of Richmond symphony, I wish I was in the Richmond Symphony that would be dope, um I’m in another chamber Ensemble with Sarah Shen, it’s a Piano Sonata, I am in the Choeur du Roi a cappella group, I think that's it.

And how long have you been in each of those?

Chords, Choeur du Roi I've been in for a little over a year now, um the chamber Ensemble with Sarah Shen we just started this past semester, um.

So like you started at the beginning of this year?
Yeah, at the beginning of this year. Yeah we rehearsed a bit before this summer but that didn’t really count, um.

Segment Synopsis: Micah discusses his involvement with other music groups on campus.

Keywords: a cappella; music; orchestra; quartet

Subjects: a cappella; ensemble; orchestra; piano; sonata

00:10:37 - Musician Community

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Partial Transcript: Okay, would you describe the- how would you describe the musician community at the University? So just the people that play music together, not just strings but everyone.

It's actually like it's strong in the same way that a high school English classes strong where it's all sort of like everyone is sort of rolling their eyes together sometimes, but also generally enjoying each other and honestly a lot of the time participating together in a more sincere fashion. Um, I do sort of get the sense that a lot of people Ah, here we go what suffer together especially through like rep class and stuff like that but that being said like we had Bill Miller come in last class and it was awesome and I think everyone was really engaged and having a good time and it felt much more like a community than some other times.

Um, I haven't been in rep class, I wasn't in it last year, but I know that you have to, people to perform at the end and do you think that like makes people, that like draws interest people's groups like if they see someone playing an instrument be like “oh they’re also in this group I’ll go see that performance” do you think that happens?

Yeah, I could see that. Especially like you know, being inspired by your peers is a very real thing that's honestly pretty awesome. Um, I think yeah, definitely that that I know I did personally like sometimes people would play or perform and I’d just be like “okay like I know I got to go see them like do XYZ.” I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Segment Synopsis: Micah talks about his thoughts on the musician community at the University.

Keywords: class; community; musician

Subjects: community; music; university

00:12:24 - Leadership Positions

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Partial Transcript: Um, do you have any other leadership positions that you might have?

Do you mean within the music groups?


Um, yeah I guess I'm the music director of Choeur du Roi and I'm the concertmaster of the symphony orchestra, um, and then I'm switching out with Lillian when I go abroad.

Um, in quartet are there any leadership positions for students?

Um, since the group is so small we do technically have a group leader which in this case is Lillian but it's more, it's a highly collaborative approach so Lillian will like make sure that we actually get our rehearsals done and she’ll help with, be the liaison for gigs for music gigs and print music, you know she's great, um, but when it comes to actually like having these discussions and making musical decisions it's very much so collaborative, nobody really has the final say.

Segment Synopsis: Micah shares his different leadership positions in the music groups on campus that he is involved in.

Keywords: a cappella; concertmaster; leadership

Subjects: a cappella; music; orchestra

00:13:24 - Gender in Music at Richmond

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Partial Transcript: Um, do you think gender ever plays a part at the- in the music scene at Richmond?

Yeah, for sure.

Can you explain?

I think the... It shows up less in the smaller groups, again like with my quartet were so tight-knit, um, and all profoundly equals so you don't really see it much in the sense of like a power dynamic especially since it's not really formalized and Lillian is our group leader actually even though she's the only girl in our group because she's definitely the most responsible. Um, like say the a cappella group in chords it's sort of like at least I've noticed that the the, I mean, especially in a non formal leader sense you do see that the guys tend to be a little more outspoken and likely to assert their opinions than say a lot of the girls. I feel like thats especially true among the new memebers, and that also goes for last year as well when we were new members.

Um, in just the orchestral scene do you think it plays a part in more or less than in the general whole?

Right, um, no, not really. I think we’ve had a good balance of gender leaders in like you know across the board and I dont think Mr. Kortzaiez is trying to push it in another direction it’s just how the cookie crumbles in this case.

Segment Synopsis: Micah discusses his thoughts about gender's effect on the music scene at the University.

Keywords: gender; music; student; university

Subjects: gender; music; university

00:15:05 - Seniority in Music at Richmond

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Partial Transcript: And then last question, do you think there's any kind of seniority in the music scene at Richmond?

Yeah, for sure um I’d say there's a lot of street cred that builds up especially with these rep performances, um, by seniority do you mean just like a sense of hierarchy or actual “oh this person has been around for longer”?

No, more like hierarchy.

Yeah, I’d say, sorry, yeah I’d say one develops pretty rapidly and you sort of figure where you fit into things and its not like i wouldnt say its like a toxic kind of like “Oh blah blah blah is so much better than blah” but like I feel like especially since it is such a small music program you sort of know and are able to keep track of everyone else’s growth and progress and it’s pretty easy to compare as well, um, yeah and I guess also in the sense that there are smaller music groups that you get to be a part of and stuff like that that, depending, like uh even across instrumentation, like we did a recital with Duncan Trawick last year, doing like a barber piece, but like you do see a lot of hierarchy I think.

Alright, that’s all I have so thank you for letting me interview you.

Yes, you’re welcome.

Segment Synopsis: Micah talks about his feelings towards the aspect of seniority and comparison between individuals in the music scene at the University.

Keywords: hierarchy; music; orchestra; seniority

Subjects: comparison; hierarchy; music; seniority