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Kevin Brown appointed assistant professor of double bass at Michigan State

Principal Bass, Kevin Brown will be joining the faculty of the College of Music at Michigan State University!

“Kevin stands out for his brilliant musicianship. He is able to capture everyone’s attention with his very first note,” says Professor of Cello Suren Bagratuni, chair of the String Area. “His incredible sensitivity to whatever he or students are playing shows he is an intelligent, extremely knowledgeable player and teacher. Our faculty is looking forward to collaborating with him, as well as to the wonderful students he will attract and recruit in the future.”

 

See more at: http://music.msu.edu/news/new-strings-faculty-member-hired#sthash.iHtZn5lo.dpuf

 

Amanda Blaikie joins as Second Flute

Where are you from? Norwalk, CT

 

Where did you go to school? Principia College, University of Miami, Manhattan School of Music

 

Where were you before you joined the DSO?  Principal Flute of the Sarasota Opera in Florida and the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit.

 

What compelled you to audition for the DSO?  Having subbed with this orchestra for four years, naturally I felt at home here and the orchestra members felt like family.  I kept taking many auditions around the country, but when this audition came around I left no stone unturned and prepared in every conceivable way.

 

Which city do you live in? I live in Detroit, in Lafayette Park.

 

Do you come from a musical family?  Yes, my grandfather was an opera singer and pianist. My mother was naturally very talented on many instruments, but never pursued a career in music.  My sister played the violin and was in the local youth orchestra.

 

What do you do in your spare time?  Lately, I’ve kept myself occupied by re-painting my apartment and finding interesting art and mirrors to display.  It’s a more modern apartment, so it’s been pretty fun to decorate.  In the warmer weather, I spend a lot of time running, biking, and being active.

 

What kind of musical activities do you enjoy outside of the DSO?  I have always loved playing opera, so I’m actually taking one of my weeks off in January to play Guest Principal Flute with Opera Tampa.  I love playing chamber music too, so I love performing with New Music Detroit and Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings.

 

What’s your favorite piece?  I might have to say Brahms’ Third Symphony.  It’s not necessarily Brahms’ greatest symphony, but it was both my first performance of the piece and my first time performing with the New York Philharmonic, so it holds great nostalgia for me, especially since I was playing 2nd Flute to my teacher, Robert Langevin.

 

If you had to play another instrument, what would it be and why? I’d probably have to say violin or cello.  I love the deep, rich sound of the cello, and having a big sister who played violin always made me want to play it.

 

Any other interesting facts and stories? My mom used to regularly attend the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra when she was in college and she would tell me specifically how much she enjoyed watching Leonard Slatkin conduct.  You can imagine how thrilled she was when she saw me first perform under Leonard Slatkin as a substitute with the DSO, and now, of course, as a member.


Find out more about Amanda on her website, www.amandablaikie.com.

Jiamin Wang, violin


Jiamin Wang joined our first violin section in 2013.  She comes most recently from the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Weigang Li.
Before her move to the United States, Jiamin studied at the Shanghai Conservatory, where she graduated with excellence in 2009.  She continued her studies in Shanghai on a scholarship for her master’s degree.  During her studies, she was the concertmaster of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music’s Youth Symphony Orchestra.

 

Jiamin has won almost too many awards and recognitions to count.  She won the “Youth Performance Award” in the 8th National Professional Violin Competition in Qingdao, 2006. In 2007, she won second prize in the Bucharest Romania International Violin Competition. This past spring she was invited by world-renowned composer/conductor Tan Dun as a soloist to play his “Water Passion” with MDR Radio Choir. She was also asked to play his Hero Concerto for violin and orchestra with the National Orchestra of Madrid, Spain in 2010.  In 2009, she won the orchestra fellow audition of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.  As a soloist, she has performed with the Singapore Festival Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jiamin grew up in Shanghai, China.  She began playing the violin at the age of 6 under the distinct tutelage of her own mother.  Jiamin currently lives in Troy, Michigan.  Although she doesn’t currently have a pet in Michigan, she misses her pug who lives with her parents in China.  She admits she’s thinking about having a more local dog.  Jiamin enjoys cooking and trying new restaurants in her spare time.


Something you may not know about Jiamin is that she has only taken one orchestral audition in her life.  That audition was for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra!  She was very excited to win this position, as she did the audition more for the sake of experience.

 
(Photo: Jiamin vacationing in Napa, one of her favorite places to visit in the US.)