Ashlee Sung

Ashlee Sung is 14 has studied violin for 11 years. She joined PCM faculty Sharon Harman’s violin studio in 2019. She participates in the PYSO Philharmonic Orchestra and her orchestra at Arcadia High School. Ashlee recently shared more about her musical interests and her time at PCM.

Young woman in black playing violin with a female pianist behind her

PCM: When and why did you want to start playing violin?
AS: According to my parents, I loved music ever since I was young and I would play a toy violin, so they decided to sign me up for violin lessons when I was 3. My favorite thing about the violin is that I can play pretty music that people can actually listen to and enjoy it.

PCM: You currently play with the PYSO Philharmonic Orchestra as well as your school orchestra. How has the experience been, playing in an orchestra during a pandemic?
AS: Although I would prefer being able to play in an orchestra in real life, I am grateful for the opportunity to still play with others on a zoom call (one person unmuted) and it’s quite entertaining to watch when each individual person’s videos put together.

PCM: You recently won first place for composing in Arcadia High Schools Reflections Program. How did you become interested in composition and what’s your favorite thing about composing?
AS: I started becoming interested in composing when I would improvise “freestyle” music on the violin when I was younger because I would hear others’ music and it would inspire me to create something of my own and to have it sound beautiful and enjoyable as the music I’ve listened to. Then I was introduced to a website called Noteflight where I could write down my compositions and use multiple instruments as well. My favorite thing about composing is that my music can reach others and make them happy just like how music makes me happy.

PCM: You’re also competing in the Music Teachers’ Association of California’s VOCE competition. How have you prepared for the competition and what’s different about competing during a pandemic?
AS: I have prepared for the VOCE competition by practicing the Bruch Violin Concerto No. I and the Mozart Violin Concerto no 3, filming practice videos of myself and taking notes on what I can improve. Competitions during a pandemic are different from normal competitions because of how our performance is pre-recorded and how we have unlimited chances to film a video. It feels different because there is no live audience present when we are performing.

PCM: What piece are you most looking forward to learning?
AS: One day I would like to play the Sibelius Violin Concerto because it is one of my favorite pieces that I listen to.

PCM: You’ve been tutoring young violinists in Ms. Megan Shung’s studio. What inspired you to tutor younger students and what has been your most rewarding experience?
AS: Being a section leader in orchestra helped me realize how much I love helping others in music and that I would like to help more students. So far I am only tutoring one student, but my most rewarding experience is that I get to encourage students, see their improvement, and also that they enjoy music.

PCM: What is your favorite memory at PCM?
AS: One of my favorite memories of PCM is the Chamber Intensive 2019 where I played in a quartet and became friends with the other members.