Search Continues for WSO’s New Music Director as Conductor Chia-Hsuan Lin Auditons

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Chia-Hsuan Lin will conduct the WSO’s second Masterworks Concert of the season in her audition for WSO’s new music director. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra)

WILLIAMSBURG — Chia-Hsuan Lin describes the role of a music director as being “the dreamer-in-chief.”

Her experience conducting many different orchestras in a variety of venues around the world has allowed Lin to dream bigger about what an orchestra can do.

A candidate for the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra (WSO)’s new music director, Lin will audition for the position on Friday, Oct. 8 when she conducts the second Masterworks Concert of the season.

Lin, who is in her sixth year as associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony, has previously led the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, WSO, Richmond Ballet, Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, Academy of Taiwan Strings and Taipei Philharmonic Chorus.

She previously served as music director of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, University of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, South Loop Symphony Orchestra (Chicago) and assistant conductor of the opera at the CCM Spoleto Music Festival.

A trained percussionist, Lin holds a Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern University.

Lin has previous experience working with WSO when she stepped in to conduct the April 2018 concert when former Music Director Janna Hymes became ill.

“I had a great experience conducting WSO a couple years back,” she said. “The entire experience just led me wanting more.”

Lin will open her Masterworks Concert, titled “Triumph & Joy,” with Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischutz Overture.

“Listening to this overture is like watching a thriller with romance and with triumph at the end,” she said. “And all the characters are introduced by various instruments. I’m just really excited to play this piece.”

The orchestra will also perform Beethoven’s Piano concerto No. 3 and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 (Rhenish), which Lin said comes full circle, as Schumann was an admirer of both Beethoven and Weber.

“He wrote the symphony when he took on the music directorship of the orchestra in Düsseldorf and he pulled all of his personal experience from his new life there, and so this music in the beginning, you hear that happy and prosperous life,” she said. “And it depicts his experience visiting this cathedral. And starting from the beginning, you hear this trombone choir and you’re in the cathedral and the sound is echoing and you imagine you’re standing in that echoing space with that beautiful organ sound.”

Lin’s high energy and passion for music is with her even when she’s not behind the podium. She wants audiences to have that same appreciation for classical music.

“I feel we all sometimes create an imaginary wall, we feel classical music is very far from our life,” she said. “But I feel differently, I think classical music is everywhere. Your favorite movie, your TV shows, commercials.”

Lin said that it is important for her as a musician and leader to bring symphony music back into people’s lives.

“Imagine ‘Star Wars’ without the music,” she said.

Lin will conduct WSO’s second Masterworks Concert Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Williamsburg Community Chapel, 3899 John Tyler Hwy.

Audiences can also watch the concert from home with the virtual-view-at-home.

However, Lin is looking forward to the opportunity to be able to feed off of the energy from a live audience.

“I can’t explain that strong desire to get back in person, and there’s nothing like live music,” she said. “When we walk on stage after such a long absence, there’s this overwhelming sense of gratitude that we can once again make joyful noise together.” 

For more information and to purchase tickets for the in-person and virtual concert, visit here.

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