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IIRY Podcast: 35. 2020: “What would you tell your younger self?”
An end of year review, with advice to help you on your creative journey in 2021.

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Saying “2020 has been a weird year” is an understatement. Nevertheless, I’m really grateful when I look back at the inspiring guests who were generous enough to sit down and chat with me this year. So, I thought, wouldn’t it be great to revisit some of the most popular “Is it Recess Yet?” episodes of […]

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS! BTS (방탄소년단) Dynamite Solo Violin Cover!
BTS (방탄소년단) Dynamite Solo Violin Cover!

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Hi Friend! I made a solo violin arrangement of BTS (방탄소년단) Dynamite! BOOM! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I don’t need to tell you about BTS, the world dominating South Korean boy band phenomenon! I had a blast covering DYNAMITE, their infectious dance track that currently boasts more than 700 million views on YouTube. This was so fun! […]

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IIRY Podcast: 34. Miki-Sophia Cloud. “Why am I doing this?”
On the importance of great mentors and choosing to find joy and purpose in music.

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I’m excited to revisit the very first episode of the “Is it Recess Yet?” podcast, from 2018. My dear friend and colleague, the wonderful violinist and human, Miki-Sophia Cloud, graciously agreed to be my first interviewee. In our chat, we talk about her former life as a strolling ‘gypsy violinist’; playing by ear versus playing from sheet […]

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IIRY Podcast: 33. Dr. Noa Kageyama. “Focus on growth.”
On growth mindset versus fixed mindset and what we can learn from making music.

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Check out my 2018 podcast interview with performance psychologist, Noa Kageyama, where we learn what he meant at age 2 when he said “oa wike mugas”; what it was like to studying with Mr. Suzuki himself in Japan as a little kid, how inconsistency in his performances lead to his study of performance psychology at […]

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IIRY Podcast: 32. Rev. D. Maurice Charles. “To resist absurdity is to live.”
On why "you don't have to feel what someone else feels to do the right thing" and creating a society that makes space for all of us.

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In my conversation with the Rev. D. Maurice Charles, the first African American chaplain at the University of Chicago, he shares how he was called to the ministry; his family heritage of slavery and survival; his scholarly work in religion and violence; why denying the existence of systemic bias is damaging to BIPOC and oppressed […]

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IIRY Podcast: 31. Kenji Bunch. “The willingness to fail in public is so important.”
A chat with composer and musician Kenji Bunch, about taking creative risks, being a bi-racial Asian kid, and saying "yes" to everything.

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In my conversation with composer and musician Kenji Bunch, we discuss the value of listening to all music with respect and curiosity; why he draws parallels between his eclectic approach to music and classically trained food chefs; why improvising and playing in non-classical styles can be really difficult for classical musicians; what it was like […]

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IIRY Podcast: 30. Karen Rile: “You can actually change your life very quickly.”
A chat with writer Karen Rile, about parenting, flexibility, and how deliberate practice yields huge results.

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 In my conversation with writer Karen Rile, we discuss her experience of parenting four artistic children and her interest in musicians; how flexibility and creative courage led to her founding Cleaver Magazine, a successful literary magazine; why creative writing and small amounts of deliberate practice create a vast foundation for a successful life; and […]

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IIRY Podcast: 29. Byron Au Yong, PART 2: “Shouting comes from having no choice.”
A chat with composer Byron Au Yong, about activism, representation, and why we can't avoid our painful experiences.

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In my conversation with composer Byron Au Yong, we discuss his works, “Stuck Elevator,” “The Ones,” and “Activist Songbook,” a trilogy that addresses what Americans fear and ways out of oppression; why representation matters and the importance of figuring out alternatives to dominant systems that oppress people; the practice of small, daily activism; and why […]