Spotlight on Minyoung Baik, Violinist
For this Spotlight we feature violinist Minyoung Baik. In coming months we’ll continue to spotlight other musicians, patrons or leaders withing the CSO and Pops community.
Tell us about your musical background and how you came to Cincinnati.
I’m not from a musical family…. But one day, the sound of the violin captured my interest during a particularly auspicious play-date. At the ripe old age of ten, I became very serious about becoming a violinist. All my early training took place in Korea. After my first semester at Seoul National University, I decided to leave Korea in order to continue my education in the United States in 2001. I transferred to Oberlin Conservatory and finished my bachelor’s degree. Living in rural Ohio was an enormous change from the bustling, cosmopolitan city of Seoul. I arrived in farmland Ohio with zilch-O English skills. During my college years, my English skills blossomed as did my violin technique. In 2005, I graduated from Oberlin and moved to New York for a master’s degree at Juilliard. It was an amazing opportunity to learn from the world’s best musicians—such as my teacher, Glenn Dicterow, former concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. After graduation, I won a position with the Albany and Harrisburg symphonies. A few years later, in April 2011, I won a section first violin job here in Cincinnati and started my first season with the CSO a few months later.
What have been some of your favorite memories so far performing with the CSO and Pops?
I can’t forget my very first concert with the CSO—we played Mahler’s First Symphony. As a newbie, I was slightly nervous (even though I was in the back of the section). The concert began, and I was able to loosen up and enjoy the gorgeous sound of the Cincinnati Symphony. Each and every player knew the piece inside out, and it flowed like water. I went home filled with joy. As for Pops shows, Seth Macfarlane at Riverbend this past summer was awesome. I’m a huge fan of his work and I was thrilled to share a stage with him.
Do you have any favorite pieces or composers you enjoy performing?
Every time I get to play a Beethoven symphony, I’m reminded how great it is to be a musician and to be able to make music with my colleagues. We have had more opportunities to play Beethoven and Mozart since Maestro Langrée joined the CSO, which is a great pleasure. I also love playing pieces by Mahler and Ravel. Last season, we played Ravel’s Shéhérazade and I thought this music was from heaven.
What performances are you most looking forward to in the 2015–16 season?
I’m looking forward to the NYC tour in January.
What music do you listen to when you are not rehearsing or performing?
I always have WGUC on when I drive. Their selections give me great joy. I also like to listen to jazz…particularly Brad Mehldau and Robert Glasper.
As for hobbies, I recently started playing golf. While vacationing in Korea this summer, I had the opportunity to take regular lessons. Golf interests me because it is somewhat similar to playing violin. Both have important mental and physical components and strive for perfection. But my favorite hobby would be…online shopping.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Cincinnati?
I moved to OTR about a year ago and it’s refreshing and wonderful to stroll through Washington Park every day on my way to work. It has totally changed my life in Cincinnati.
Where do you seek inspiration, musically or otherwise?
I love connecting with friends and experiencing good dining. I love watching tennis—it has been a hobby of mine for years. Tennis players are such complete athletes.