Blog

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.

Posted on

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 […]

Blog

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.

Posted on

 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 […]

Blog

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.

Posted on

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 […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 28. Byron Au Yong: “Counteract the hate.”
A chat with composer Byron Au Yong, about how Western Classical music is not the only music in the world and the "healing powers of music."

Posted on

In my conversation with composer Byron Au Yong, we discuss why writing well “is a power”;  his childhood experiences with bullying and how music was a “shield”; the importance of affinity groups and centering his music in social justice; why love is an agent for change and protest; and the importance of continuing to “counteract […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 26. Blair McMillen: “It’s okay to be vulnerable.”
A chat with pianist Blair McMillen, about performance anxiety, perfectionism, and why process is more important than product.

Posted on

 In this conversation with pianist Blair McMillen, we discuss how to manage stage fright and performance anxiety; why being a part-time musician can be a healthy option; why we should talk openly about what a musician’s life is really like; and why he wishes classical music could be more about process than product. Subscribe […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 25. Sean Wang: “My quietness was misunderstood as an act of defiance.”
A chat with violinist, conductor, and scholar, Sean Wang, about the burden of assimilation, microaggressions, and the "bamboo ceiling" in classical music.

Posted on

 In this conversation with violinist, conductor, and scholar, Sean Wang, we discuss the implicit bias Asians experience in white culture; the burden of assimilation placed on immigrants to adjust their behaviors, customs, and personhood for the comfort of the dominant culture;  and why “it seems in order to get to the same place as […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 24. Celia Hatton: “You have to speak up and take up space.”
A chat with violist Celia Hatton about microaggressions, implicit bias, and institutional racism in classical music and beyond.

Posted on

In this conversation with violist Celia Hatton, we discuss racism, implicit bias and microaggressions; the illusion of meritocracy in classical music; beauty standards; institutional racism and white supremacy. Subscribe to the podcast here!  2:32 – Celia talks about growing up in a musically and artistically eclectic family and how she got started on the viola. […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 22. Dr. Nadine Kelly: “I am an eclectic, nerdy black woman who is a late bloomer.”
A chat with Dr. Nadine Kelly, retired pathologist and yoga instructor about leaving medicine to follow her happiness and why we need to be nicer to ourselves.

Posted on

In this conversation with retired pathologist and yoga instructor, Dr. Nadine Kelly, we discuss how she decided to pivot from her career as a physician to becoming a yoga instructor who specializes in helping mature women; why it’s important to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable; and why we need to be brave enough […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 21. Shannon Wilkinson: “You are valuable because you exist.”
A chat with life coach, Shannon Wilkinson, about when perfectionism becomes toxic; why "taking a breath" improves our ability to problem-solve; and why cultivating your creative courage may be the best thing you can do for your career right now.

Posted on

In this conversation with life coach, Shannon Wilkinson, we discuss how we turn to perfectionism to protect ourselves and “stay in the tribe”; how perfectionists may be struggling acutely with the uncertainty of the pandemic; why “taking a breath” and making things “ridiculously easy” is crucial to opening up our ability to problem-solve; and why […]