It has now been more than a week since our nation awoke to the 2016 presidential election results. As a woman, an artist, an educator, the daughter of an immigrant, and an American, I spent much of the following days in a state of heartbroken shock trying to come to grips with the reality of the monster we somehow elected to our highest office.
As my emotions rollercoastered and I was left with the feeling of hopelessness — particularly as I looked at my class of young, talented students at Cornell, many of whom were eligible to vote for the very first time — I wondered if we will ever be able to overcome the pain of a divided nation. It was in that moment that I received a notice from Cornell’s president announcing a student-organized walk-out protest that would be taking place on campus.
I excused all of my students who wished to attend, and in fact went to the rally myself. I was so deeply moved when I saw the sea of students who had come out in droves to exercise their right to organize and protest. I was perhaps even more moved when the chants of outrage – and yes, we should be outraged – turned into chants of “Love Trumps Hate.” I had not yet thought about our state of the union in a positive light, one that preaches love, until that moment. I joined with admiration for our students as they helped me look forward to the possibility — nay, the necessity — that Love will Trump Hate.
Today, I sat down to write this post about all that has gone on in my rich life over the last 6 weeks through a sense of love, beauty, grace, and positivity. As we grieve and attempt to come together as a people, we also must hold onto the splendid things that still exist for us and bring varied worlds together. I felt blessed to look back and realize how much love had actually filled my life as of late.
I made a quick journey to Boston to hear and see my ultra talented kid brother Daniel‘s first performance as a new member of the Boston Symphony — a semi-staged Der Rosenkavalier — with the glorious Renee Fleming, Susan Graham, and Franz Hawlata singing the title roles. The BSO and the entire cast sounded inspired, fresh, and brilliant. The stage, the plot, and the hall were filled with love.
I then zipped to Minneapolis for the season opener with the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota with the incomparable Leon Fleisher. Spending time with Mr. Leon and his wonderful wife and duo partner, Ms. Katherine Jacobson, is always inspiring and to make music together is entirely profound. To be on stage performing one of the great warhorses of the literature — Brahms’ F minor piano quintet — with Mr. Leon along with my father Young-Nam and dear colleagues Sally Chisholm and Mina Smith was transporting. And yes, filled with love.
After a busy week of quartet rehearsals as we prep for the next part of our season, I took a long weekend to head to Korea for my cousin’s wedding! It was a crazy fast voyage (36 hours in-transit, 48 hours on the ground in Seoul!), but I was so incredibly grateful to have been there with our entire family. The wedding day, family reunion, and time together were, of course, filled with love.
My travels then took me to beautiful San Diego State University where I was a guest artist at the Campanile Festival organized by the marvelous and talented Pei-Chun Tsai. It was a fantastic week filled with rehearsals, side-by-side readings with students, master classes, Q & A sessions, and a festival concert. The students were so engaged and eager, our rehearsals were great fun and inspirational (we even took an evening off to watch the Cubs win the World Series!) and I never complain about 75-and-sunny in November! The week, in nearly every aspect, was yes, filled with love.
My return to Cornell brought an Ensemble X concert which featured Hans Abrahmson’s Schnee. My studio and I are now happily in a whirlwind of rehearsals and studio classes as we prepare for our big solo recital coming up on Monday. I heard many of them play an exceptional Mahler 6 last night as members of the Cornell Symphony Orchestra and I left the hall with smiles and cheers in my mind. Another reminder that yes, our world can be filled with love.
As we prepare for Thanksgiving and remind ourselves of all that we do have to be grateful for, I leave you here with this post’s photo diary…
And finally, this post’s title video clip: “Love Trumps Hate:”