Meet Ike, a member of the bowed string section.
TCO: How long have you been with the TCO?
I: I’ve been with the TCO since May of 2005
TCO: What keeps you coming back?
I: TCO is a big community that gathers all of the music enthusiasts around Toronto. I’ve been coming back for many years; week after week, I am able to spend time with a bunch of people who enjoy the same interests as I do. TCO provides me a place where I can meet new musicians, perform in front of audiences and have fun playing the instrument with other people. It also helps me to improve because when a person is playing with others, they can help you point out the good and bad of your playing when you sometimes can’t figure out if you were playing by yourself.
TCO: What instrument do you play and how long have you been playing?
I: I play the Erhu (Chinese violin), and I’ve been playing since I was 8. Around 8 years now.
TCO: How did you get started with this instrument?
I: A lot of people learn instruments such as violin and piano, but I wanted to be different. I’ve always had a love for Chinese culture and music so I decided to learn the Erhu. It was a traditional instrument that I was very familiar with from a very young age because my grandfather also played it when he was young. So I kind of followed his footsteps in learning the Erhu.
TCO: What other instruments do you play?
I: I know how to play the Chinese flute Dizi and also the western flute. They are actually very similar. I also know how to play a little bit of Baritone and Suona.
TCO: Other activities that you enjoy on spare time?
I: I love Chinese culture so I enjoy reading about history and culture of China. I like painting Chinese brush art and Chinese brush calligraphy. I also like to do some Chinese seal engraving when I have time. Other than that, I enjoy basketball, volunteering in the community and listening to music.
TCO: Anything you’d like to share with other TCO members and fans that come to the concerts?
I: Thanks for all the support throughout the years. Chinese music is unique and very important, by coming to the concerts, you all are helping us promote the rich culture and tradition. I also want to thank Patty Chan (principal erhu and concertmistress of TCO) who is also my teacher. She brought me into the orchestra in 2005 and has been teaching and supporting ever since.