Meet Ima Hogg Competition Semi-finalist Stephanie Zyzak! This talented 22-year-old violinist currently studies with Miriam Fried at New England Conservatory. We recently got a chance to ask Stephanie a few questions about herself and her musical life.
Houston Symphony: Where did you grow up and how did that community affect whom you have become?
Stephanie Zyzak: I moved around a lot when I was young, and I think all the different communities and people I met gave me a well-rounded perspective on music and life.
HS: Are there other musical people in your family?
SZ: My brother and I are the only musical people in my family (he plays the cello). Both my parents are scientists and have always been supportive of our music. They always try to relate to music in their own scientific way, but sometimes they just pretend to understand 😉
HS: At what age did you begin playing your instrument and what memories do you have of your first rehearsals or performances?
SZ: I was four years old. The first performance I remember happened at the Aspen Music Festival when I was around seven years old. Performing there gave me an amazing feeling, although I don’t remember how I played…hopefully it was okay!
HS: What has been the most exciting event for you in your musical career?
SZ: Always traveling to different places and meeting and performing for many people.
HS: Do you have any pre-performance habits or rituals?
SZ: I like to take a nap, read the news, and listen to music.
HS: Who are some of your most profound influences and what is the impact they have had on you?
SZ: Definitely my parents. Even though they aren’t musicians, their perspective on music gives me knowledge on how to connect with audiences that may not know that much about music.
HS: Who is the most famous person you have met or worked with?
SZ: Joshua Bell.
HS: What are the “top five” pieces or songs on your playlist or iPod?
SZ: Usually pieces I’m playing at the moment or works I want to play next. I like to listen to a lot of chamber music as well.
HS: Do you have any favorite TV shows?
SZ: Anything on Netflix or Hulu.
HS: Do you have any favorite sports teams?
SZ: The New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox.
HS: Do you have any favorite kinds of food?
SZ: Korean, Pizza (any Italian), Chinese or a really good burger.
HS: Do you have any favorite cities or travel destinations?
SZ: North Carolina, Chicago, Boston or New York.
HS: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music?
SZ: Is eating a hobby? Cooking isn’t really a strength of mine so I turned to eating.
See Stephanie Zyzak perform for FREE at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music on Thursday, June 2. And don’t forget to get tickets to the Finals Concert!