Celebrated for being an “unusually individualistic player” with “electrifying assertiveness” and “virtuosic abandon” (The New York Times), Jasmine Lin is a Kingston Chamber Music Festival fan favorite. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, she is a founding and current member of the Formosa Quartet. At the KCMF concerts on August 2nd, 4th, and 6th, Lin will perform a little bit of everything: from the percussive and groovy “100 Greatest Dance Hits for Guitar and Strings” by Aaron Jay Kernis to a duo for violin and cello by Jessie Montgomery that, in the composer’s words, “is meant as an ode to friendship with movements characterizing laughter, compassion, adventure, and sometimes silliness.” Get to know Lin through this Q&A!
Q. What led you to begin learning the violin? Do you remember when you realized it was something you wanted to pursue in a big way?
A. My parents started me on the violin; it was a good fit. Upon seeing the 4-year-old me play, people quoted the proverbial “was born with a silver spoon in mouth,” substituting “silver spoon” with “violin.” It was kind of a big pursuit from the start.
What have been some highlights about being a chamber musician?
Where to begin? Chamber music is one continuous high. I would say that the most vivid highlights, and the most surprising even after the hundredth time, are in the music itself: the accelerando at the end of the Brahms C Minor String Quartet, the last lines of Dvorak “Dumky” trio, a single note in the slow movement of Beethoven 59 2. I could probably go on with this list without ever stopping.
Of course the magic is inextricably linked with my collaborators. Again the list is endless, but one favorite onstage moment was in the Mozart G Major Piano Quartet. Right before we went onstage, I jokingly suggested that the pianist quote Die Walküre in his cadenza. To my delight he obliged.
How has performing around the world helped you connect with people?
The exchange of energy between performer and audience has a similar quality and tangibleness no matter where you go. That’s a wonderful thing, and quite reassuring.
What do you value most about the arts?
The arts keep us alive and honest. Without it, we think we are fully alive when we’re not, and it’s the inability to tell that’s the most dangerous of all.
What can the audience expect from the festival this summer?
Expect to have your socks knocked off. The performers are exceptional artists and human beings with charm to burn, and the programs contain some of the most ravishing music in the world.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Once at the festival between rehearsals, I saw an injured baby mouse in a parking lot and moved it near a tree. I hope we cross paths this summer.