Interview with Elizabeth Tsung

Introduce yourself! 

My name is Elizabeth Tsung and I’m a Gemini, introvert, and turning 30 this year. I’m a violinist, pianist, and composer based in NYC. 

How did you begin with music?  What has your journey been like? 

I’ve been playing music for over 20 years. I was gifted when I was young and pushed to play the violin by my family. When I neared my teens, I genuinely started enjoying playing and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to study violin performance with my mentor, the Yehonatan Berick. 

Your main instruments are the piano and the violin—what do you like about these instruments?  Do you approach them differently?

I love piano because it hurts less. I have years of pain and inflammation from practicing all these years. Then I got into a car accident in college that made everything worse. I took a hiatus from violin for about 6 years. During that time, I explored other mediums, photography and poetry. And then piano, which has been my refuge because my shoulders aren’t being weighed down by a foreign thing. 

For me, in order to play my violin I need to do many rituals, which includes lots of stretching, yoga, and basically, for me to be in a good place emotionally so I can avoid any pain. Mindfulness has also been so healing when I play. 

Since violin is my primary instrument, I can play basically whatever. With piano, it requires more practice on my end. But I enjoy them both equally, they’re just different.  

How has this time of COVID-19 affected you and your work?  How have you been coping? 

COVID-19 is actually the reason I started writing my own music. Something about the pandemic totally lit the fire under my butt to get up and do something. It’s been a blessing. When the pandemic is over and things are safer, I definitely want to perform my own music. 

How do you approach composing your own music vs. learning a piece by someone else?  

I’ve actually never thought about that! Composing is difficult. I’ll write in phases. Some days I’m writing music for hours. Other days I don’t touch my instruments. It’s very black and white, but I don’t mind.  

What does self care mean to you?  How do you take care of yourself? 

Self care for me means self love. Putting myself first. Being my own best friend. Loving myself first. And I honestly didn’t even realize the importance of self-love until my last breakup, where I learned I could be whole and complete all on my own. Ever since then, I’ve been so happy and loving my life.

Here are some rapid-fire questions: 

Your go-to coffee shop order? 

Grande chai latte. Yum.

Favorite color? 

Teal. 

Music you’ve been listening to lately? 

Lots! I’m always listening to music. But lately it’s been Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto and This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) by Talking Heads.

Ultimate comfort food?

Rice with eggs, kimchi, sesame oil and soy sauce. 

What has been the highlight of your day today? 

Enjoying my morning cup of peach tea. 

What is upcoming for you? 

My newest single was just released this month on Friday, February 19. It’s a 14-minute cover of Bach’s Ciaccona. I’m so proud of myself for doing this because it’s incredibly challenging, and my proudest accomplishment after everything I’ve been through with the car accident. I feel like with this piece, I’m 99% back to being healed. I’m also working on my first full-length album (Date to be determined).


“As the two instruments duet, they are nearly unrecognizable as their own sounds, so smoothly how they are blended together in a perfect harmony, captivating every listener in their aural dance.” – Music Dances When You Sleep

Elizabeth Tsung has been playing the violin for over 20 years. She studied violin performance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Right before she graduated (miraculously), she got into a car accident and injured her arm. After graduation, she took a hiatus from the violin. Following her hiatus, she started a YouTube channel but took time off again to heal.

During that time she slowly immersed herself in playing piano, writing, and photography. Hearing one of her favorite pieces (Bach’s Ciaccona) after an extended period of not listening to it reignited her love for the violin again, and she picked up her violin again after five years. The Ciaccona also inspired her to start writing her own pieces. 

Elizabeth’s first album was released in October 2020 featuring both instruments in multiple voices. Her recording of the Ciaccona was just released in February 2021. 

Social profiles:  

www.elizabethtsung.com 

https://www.instagram.com/elizabeth.tsung/

https://www.facebook.com/elizabethtsungmusic

Head Interviewer

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