Meet Melody Chang

Reno Phil Principal 2nd Violin

What year did you join the orchestra?
I started subbing in the Reno Phil back in 2013 while I was finishing my Masters Degree at USC. Luckily there was an audition the following year and I’ve been so grateful to be a part of the Reno Phil family ever since.

How long have you been playing music?
Too long and not long enough! I come from a family full of musicians so there was this expectation to continue our tradecraft. Out of all my siblings, I was the only one that eventually chose this path. Hopefully I live up to my given name.

How did you pick your instrument?
I started on both violin and piano. But it soon became clear (breaking my pianist dad’s heart) that I favored the violin
more (my mother’s instrument).

Violinist. Teacher. Videographer. Editor.

When you’re not playing with the Reno Phil, what would we most likely see you doing in your free time?
Teaching violin and Filming/Editing. I absolutely love teaching my students – adults and kids. I grew up watching my mom teach her studio and I knew teaching was always going to be in my future. The videography and editing happened naturally while working within my husband’s multimedia company, Lenson Productions. It’s been a lot of fun to work on concerts and classical MVs artistically behind the lens. Even in the editing room, I believe the cuts between shots should be musically driven. I feel fulfilled, creativity-wise, with how I use my musicality and artistry through performing, teaching, and filming. When I do get a little free time, I enjoy skiing, film photography, game nights, and eating. I’m a big foodie!

What genre of music are you most excited to play?
This is a tough question! I love the challenge of bringing new music to life. Especially when we have the composer in the room shaping our sound. I always enjoy how our music director Laura Jackson programs each season with music not just from the standard repertoire but with music written in the recent century. I work with young composers during the summer and it’s interesting to hear what inspires them and their music. Composing is something I make my own students do every year and the results always blow my mind. So I am most excited when I have a chance to play
something new!

What is your favorite piece of all time to play, and why?
How can you pick just one? Last year I enjoyed performing “Family Photos” for string quartet by Kian Ravaei. Most recently Scheherazade in Classix 1 of this current Reno Phil season. I just tried to create a short list of composers and ended up naming all of them. So let’s say “Romance” by Amy Beach because it reminds me of what hope feels like.

If you could meet one composer/musician, who would it be and why?
Bach or Paganini. Whoever is friendlier.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
Any and all mountain ranges.

What do you think the audience would find surprising about you?
I’m both a night owl and an early riser. Paid for Minecraft in its alpha phase in Euros. Hold a minor degree in Modern Dance.

What about performing live music brings you joy?
Honestly, it’s all about the chemistry. Camaraderie between me and my friends on stage. Giving my all to the audience…every frequency laced with earnestness. From the perspective of both performer and attendee, every hall sounds and feels different. Every city has a different vibe. I tell my friends that playing in Reno is always rewarding because the energy from the audience is so warm and appreciative. It’s the reason why I come back every year. Thank you so much for all the applause and support over the years. I hope our sincerity comes through in our music all the way to your seat!