This month we are delighted to feature Tiffany Cheng, one of the viola players from the London Firebird Orchestra and find out more about her life in music…
Tell us something about your musical training to date…
I am currently studying for my bachelor degree with Yuri Zhislin at the Royal College of Music. Viola has been my main instrument for over 10 years. Growing up in one of the smallest cities in the world, Hong Kong, I am lucky enough to be part of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts as a junior student and receive professional musical training in an early age.
How long have you been involved with Firebird?
My first concert with the London Firebird Orchestra was in March earlier this year. I had two concerts with LFO in total and was allocated as the leading desk of the viola section. Initially, this was an exciting challenge for me, but it was definitely a very rewarding experience as a performance student as I plan to be a full time performer in the future.
What other musical groups are you involved with?
I have performed with various orchestras in London including the University of London Symphony Orchestra, the Southgate Symphony Orchestra and I am actively involved with the RCM Orchestras. I also frequently perform with my quartet and duo formed in college.
Tell us some of the highlights of your career to date…
One of my most unforgettable performances was playing Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No.2 with the RCM Philharmonic Orchestra. I was especially touched by the third movement and ‘teared up’ during the actual concert. That was also the moment I realised music is truly what I want to do in rest of my life.
In my first year of college, we participated in a chorus project and were very fortunate to have maestro Bernard Haitink as our conductor of the performance. Even though I was in the chorus, I was so excited and honoured to perform on the same stage with one of the greatest conductors in the world. This was a totally inspiring and rewarding experience for any musician.
And what about your future ambitions in music?
Performing in both orchestra and chamber groups is definitely the future path I want to pursue. Hong Kong is a place full of rules which I think also strongly reflects in music learning. I was always told to follow rather than to think or create. I was quite amazed by the teaching style in Europe when I first came to London. One of my ambitions is to bring these teaching ideas to the new generation in Hong Kong.
Other than music, I am also into cooking. Lately, I have been thinking about creating a place for people to enjoy music and food at the same time. Ideally something like a music cafe for musicians to relax and to make friends.
What do you see as the value of Firebird to musicians like yourself?
As a young musician in the music industry, it is extremely important to learn as much orchestral repertoire as possible. Being able to learn music quickly is an essential skill for any orchestral players. Therefore, I think an orchestra like the London Firebird is providing a great opportunity for us to learn and to build our professional skills which we need for our future careers.