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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 […]

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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."

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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 […]

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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.

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 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 […]

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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.

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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. […]

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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.

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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 […]

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IIRY Podcast: 19. Mai Der Vang: “I have to be twice as good to be given access, to be heard.”
A chat with award-winning writer, Mai Der Vang, about being the child of Hmong immigrants; the challenges of being a female, P.O.C. artist; and why we must trust our own creative impulses.

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In this conversation that took place shortly before the pandemic and shelter-in-place order, award-winning writer Mai Der Vang and I discuss why failure is always a way to build resilience; the burden of excellence that many immigrants experience plus the challenges of being a female, P.O.C. writer and academic in the American literary landscape; and […]

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IIRY Podcast: #5 -“Why ‘perfect’ isn’t interesting.” A Chat with Jennifer Fawcett, playwright, fiction writer, and doula.

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NOTE: This interview happened in the aftermath of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony at the Kavanaugh hearings. In my conversation with playwright, fiction writer, and doula, Jennifer Fawcett, we talk about: how do we give ourselves “permission”?; the importance of making your own “stuff”; struggling with “who cares” and Imposter Syndrome; how powerful and necessary […]