Soloist spotlight: Alex Hu

When Alex Hu first picked up the violin for fun as a seven year old, he didn’t know it would one day become his passion. Now, a few years out of college, Alex has made his mark on the NYC musical scene and works as both a freelance violinist and teacher.

Born in Taiwan, Alex came to the U.S. with his family at a young age and has since been raised and educated in New York City. His first violin was his uncle’s and he began seriously practicing and playing under the tutelage of Albert Markov in his teens. After attending LaGuardia High School (made famous in the stories of “Fame”) and Queens College, Alex has since been performing around the greater New York City area, most recently on an international tour with the World Civic Orchestra and an off-Broadway production of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s The Golden Bride. Now a regular performer with The Chelsea Symphony, Alex, like many other TCS members, can be seen as an extra in the Amazon Original show Mozart in the Jungle in the show’s fictitious “The New York Symphony.”

Alex has a calm, warm demeanor that belies his expressive, fiery violin playing. Hearing him perform, you wouldn’t know about his penchant for the television show Blacklist or love for sushi. You might guess that the last book he’d read was music related – The Art of Quartet Playing: The Guarneri Quartet in Conversation with David Blum. Like anyone with a lifelong commitment to their craft, Alex continues to learn and explore different facets of musicianship through his performance and teaching.

It was the March concert of TCS’s seventh season when Alex first became aware of the orchestra. Oliver Hsu, a friend from the Taiwanese American Association of New York, played the Brahms Double Concerto. Alex then began playing regularly with the orchestra in the next season and has now selected the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, to be performed on Saturday, January 30.

The Tchaikovsky was chosen for its beauty and joyousness. While preparing for the concert, he plays the piece immediately upon waking, in addition to a focus later in the day on fundamentals. When asked about any pre-performance routines or habits, he said, “I want to be fully prepared at least a week before the concert. The day before and the day of, I’d like to touch the violin as little as possible to keep the spontaneity.”

Some of his favorite recordings of the piece include the early Vasa Prihoda because of his unique interpretation, the 1959 performance by Leonid Kogan with the Paris Conservatory orchestra under Silvestri, David Nidien’s legendary 1966 performance with the New York Philharmonic with Bernstein, and the more recent Vadim Repin rendition with Kirov and Gergiev.

We look forward to hearing Alex’s performance of this perennial favorite and seeing you this Saturday!