Ming-Feng Hsin — Violin
Violinist and conductor Ming-Feng Hsin began his violin studies at the age of six in his native Tainan, Taiwan. At age twelve he was awarded the first prize in the Cathay Pacific Airlines Violin Competition. As part of the prize, he was invited to attend the Hong Kong Music Festival, where Yehudi Menuhin heard him and brought him to England to study with him in his school. Mr. Hsin’s solo career began when he won the Glasgow International Violin Competition at the age of fifteen. He subsequently performed with the Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC Orchestra to rave reviews (hailed by The Scotsman as “destined to be one of the giants of the next generation.”) and made his London debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Mr. Hsin has performed throughout Great Britain with his mentor Lord Yehudi Menuhin and was invited to Washington D.C. as the featured soloist at a special concert for President Ford and Queen Elizabeth of England during the bicentennial celebrations. After coming to the U.S. to study with Ivan Galamian, Jascha Brodsky and David Cerone at the Curtis Institute of Music, Mr. Hsin was awarded top prizes at several competitions including the Montreal International Violin competition, and has since concertized extensively in the U.S. as well as in Europe and Taiwan, as both soloist and chamber musician.
In his early twenties, Mr. Hsin’s career as a violinist was interrupted due to a hand injury from an accident. This injury has since gradually healed, but in the many years away from the violin, Mr. Hsin actively pursued conducting. He holds advanced degrees in orchestral conducting from the Juilliard School (with Otto Werner Mueller) as well as Rice University in Houston, and was a student of Charles Bruck at the Monteux School for Conductors for five summers. Mr. Hsin was the Music Director of the South Shore Symphony in Long Island, New York for many years. He has conducted many orchestras throughout the country, and has worked with several important youth orchestras in the New York area including the Empire State, Norwalk and Juilliard Pre College youth orchestras. As an opera conductor, Mr. Hsin’s has led productions of Aida and The Flying Dutchman at the National Theater in Taipei with casts of international stars, and La Boheme and Un Ballo In Maschera with the Silesian State Opera in the Czech Republic. He also conducted several performances with the Prometheus Chamber Orchestra as well as the Curtis Institute of Music Chamber Orchestra at the Taipei Theater in New York City. Mr. Hsin had been a guest conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, and has led Taipei New Arts Chamber Orchestra, OK Mozart Festival Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and New Amsterdam Symphony in performances which featured him as both conductor and violin soloist. Mr. Hsin enjoys very much working with young people, besides the orchestras already mentioned, has also worked with student orchestras from music schools such as Stony Brook, Mannes, Aspen Festival and Monteux Festival, and took the National Taipei University of Arts Orchestra on a tour of Japan. For four summers, he was on the faculty of the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Camp where he coached the students on orchestra playing.
After winning a first violin position at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York in 1994, Mr. Hsin has performed well over a hundred operas with some of the best singers and conductors of the world. He has also maintained active side careers as both violin soloist and conductor on top of his already very busy schedule at the Met. As his hand injury is almost completely healed, Mr. Hsin has gradually shifted his focus back towards solo violin playing. These past few seasons he has performed the concertos of Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Barber, Glazunov, Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Sibelius, Mozart and Schumann with orchestras around the Northeast region. Mr. Hsin also collaborates with his pianist sister Hsing-Chwen Hsin in recitals throughout Taiwan, where they are also embarked on a series of recording projects as a duo team. Mr. Hsin is an avid chamber musician and performs with his colleagues from the Met a regular series of concerts in the New York. He is also on the violin faculty at the Talis chamber music festival and academy in Switzerland.
Last year, after 24 years of service, Mr. Hsin retired from the Met. He now has more freedom to pursue other interests and work, and has more time to be with his thirteen year old son Thomas and eleven year old daughter Olivia. His wife Wen Qian, also a first violinist at the Met, continues to work there.