Violinist Paul Huang: Exploring the Virtue in ‘Virtuosity’

by Madonna

Violinist Paul Huang believes that the word “virtuoso” is closely tied to the concept of “virtue.” For him, virtuosity goes beyond mere showmanship and technical prowess; it encompasses a deeper meaning.

Paul Huang, known for his exceptional violin performances, recently spoke about his approach to virtuosity and the art of connecting with an audience. He currently resides in New York but frequently travels between the United States and his native Taiwan, performing on renowned stages and captivating audiences with his artistry. Huang has received accolades, including the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2015 and the Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists in 2017.


Huang plays the 1742 “ex-Wieniawski” Guarneri del Gesù, a prestigious violin on loan through the Stradivari Society of Chicago, a partnership that has lasted for a decade. His dedication to his craft has earned him recognition in the music world, and he recently graced the cover of Strings Magazine. Additionally, he is set to release “Kaleidoscope,” his first recording in a series of six albums for the French label Naive Records, on October 6.


When asked how he creates performances that go beyond showcasing technique and instead draw the audience into the virtue and poetry of violin music, Huang likened it to telling a joke. He emphasized the importance of personally connecting with the music and the story it conveys. Huang believes that a meaningful performance stems from a genuine connection between the artist and the craft, leading to a profound connection with the audience.


In “Kaleidoscope,” Huang aims to highlight virtuosity in a lyrical and poetic sense. The recording, a collaboration with pianist Helen Huang, features compositions by Respighi, Paganini, Saint-Saëns, and a Sarasate transcription of Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat Major, Op. 9 No. 2. These pieces resonate deeply with Huang and showcase virtuosity as a means of drawing listeners into the beauty and possibilities of the violin.

Huang shared his excitement for his upcoming chamber music festival in January 2024, which will mark its second year. In this role, he curates programs and collaborates with fellow musicians to create a unique musical experience. The festival’s lineup includes renowned artists such as violist Nobuko Imai, cellist Daniel Müller-Schott, pianists Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, and violinist Richard Lin. Huang sees this endeavor as a natural extension of his artistic journey, allowing him to wear different hats while serving the same art form.

Through his music and approach to virtuosity, Paul Huang aims to inspire audiences to fall in love with the violin, just as he did when he first discovered its remarkable potential and beauty.


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