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UW-Eau Claire composer's work featured in The Minnesota Orchestra concert

| Judy Berthiaume

Photo caption: Dr. Chia-Yu Hsu's piece, Voyage, will be performed by the musicians of The Minnesota Orchestra during a virtual concert Friday, April 2. Hsu is a UW-Eau Claire associate professor of composition.

Dr. Chia-Yu Hsu often tells her music students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire that taking the time to get to know their fellow Blugolds will likely make a big difference in their future careers.

After all, in the world of music, who you know matters, says the associate professor of composition.

Hsu says the network she began building during her own college years continues to lead to new opportunities, including a performance of one of her pieces this week by The Minnesota Orchestra.

Hsu’s piece, Voyage, will be performed by the musicians of The Minnesota Orchestra during a virtual concert Friday, April 2. The conductor and host of the “A Musical Passport” performance, Sarah Hicks, was among Hsu’s classmates when they both were undergraduate students at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

“When we were students, Sarah premiered a couple of my orchestral works at school,” Hsu says. “I’m quite excited about working with her again, since she’s such an intelligent and fantastic conductor with great communication skills.”

She is fortunate that many of her former classmates have found success in the music world, Hsu says, adding that many of them play important roles in her career.

“Many of us still stay in touch and update our works from time to time,” Hsu says. “I constantly tell my students to build their networks starting from their classmates because they will become ambassadors of your music. It’s crucial for composers to have a broad network, so people know who you are and if they like your music, they will champion your works.”

The April 2 performance is the first time that Hsu and Hicks will collaborate since college, Hsu says.

Hsu describes her woodwind trio Voyage as a musical blog reflecting on her 2015 trip through Europe. In each movement, different elements from a particular culture are employed, including music, atmosphere, scenery and living style.

Known for her compositions that focus on the fusion of Eastern and Western styles, the Taiwan-born composer says that Voyage encompasses more styles and incorporates music from different cultures.

“The third movement, Stockholm, is based on the experience I had when I took a boat ride from Stockholm to Helsinki on the day of summer solstice,” Hsu says. “ It was fascinating to see endless islands when the sun didn’t go down until midnight. The inspiration of the last movement, London, came from walking on a bridge in London as I heard a street musician playing Scottish bagpipe music. I thought ‘what an iconic scene’ and decided to write this movement to capture this moment.”

The Minnesota Orchestra event will begin at 8 p.m. Friday, April 2. Details about the performance and information about how to access it can be found here.