For Bin Huang, teaching has made her a better performer.
Before her recital at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 28, Huang will be working with students in the LSU School of Music in a master class, something she values as much as performing.
Her recital will feature a program of Bach, Ysaÿe, Paganini and Ernst.
“They’re all well-known violin compositions that the students at LSU are probably working on and will probably want to hear,” says Huang, who is an associate professor of violin at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, New York. She taught at the Shanghai Conservatory in China before going to Eastman, a role that at first gave her pause.
“I thought teaching would take away from my practice time, but it turned out to be the opposite,” she says. “Teaching has enhanced my practice time. I love interacting with students, and I can step back and be more critical of my own playing during practice time after teaching a student. I can transfer what I’ve taught them, and it makes me a better player. Now I can’t imagine life without teaching.”
Huang returned to Rochester last week after a recording session in Russia, which is only one stop in a career that has taken her throughout the world. She began playing violin at age 4 in her native China, a decision made by her dad before she was born.
“He loved the violin, and he decided that if he had a girl, she would play the violin,” Huang says. “I’ve been playing it all my life, and everything that has happened to me has been because of the violin. I wouldn’t have met my husband had I not played the violin, and I wouldn’t have traveled all over the world.”
Huang was 14 when she won the Junior Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Lublin, Poland, sharing First Prize with Maxim Vengerov. She has maintained international prominence, winning both the Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa, Italy, and the Munich (ARD) International Music Competition in Munich, Germany.
Huang also played Italian composer and violinist Niccolo Paganini’s violin in her live recording of Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto.” Paganini bequeathed the violin, known as the “Cannon,” to the City of Genoa, Italy, which is highly protective of the instrument, allowing few musicians to play and record on it.
Huang’s performance is the only live recording captured on the “Cannon.”
She’ll be playing her own instrument on LSU’s stage, where she also hopes to experience warm temperatures.
“I’m looking so forward to the warmer weather in Baton Rouge,” she says. “I know it’s going to be beautiful.”
Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.