Chen Siblings Become Violin Virtuos


Chen Siblings Phote By | ERIC ESSAGOF ’12

Devin Skolnick ’11 & Kate  McNee ’11
Web Features Editor & Head Copy Editor

At first glance, the Chen household may look typical, but the inside is constantly filled with music. Since 1998, Curtis Chen ’11 and Carolyn Chen ’12 have played and enjoyed the violin.

The love of the instrument has translated into some impressive accomplishments.

More recently, Carolyn and Curtis played at the Leon Tec Showcase for “Outstanding Young Musicians.”

Dr. Leon Tec is a physiatrist from Westport who hosts an annual showcase, honoring young and talented musicians.

The Chens, along with two other members from their quartet, played during this show.

In addition, they received a master-class.

They were coached by Earl Carlyss, a professional violinist and first chair of the Julliard quartet.

Throughout the years, they have been accepted into the New York Youth Symphony (Curtis was denoted as first violist), and played at Tanglewood in Mass. and at Carnegie Hall in New York.

They also played in a concerto competition as a duet, and Carolyn was invited to New York’s All-State Musical Festival.

In addition to participating in music festivals, they have won awards like the Connecticut’s Alliance for Music Award and the Center for Chamber Music Award.

However, this level of play does not come without practice. Both members of the Chen family are devoted to their instruments and play at any available opportunity.

Curtis practices 6–7 hours per week, like Carolyn, who plays throughout the weekends.

Both said that when they are done with their homework they practice whenever they can.

Curtis and Carolyn have, through all of this practicing, developed their own unique reasons for liking the instrument.

Carolyn describes the violin as an expressive instrument that allowed her to”escape whenever [she] played.”

She further explained how the violin brings about a more creative side to her persona.

Curtis’ parents are his inspiration because they “expose [him] to music and lead [him] to have a greater interest,” he said.

At the same time, Carolyn cites her brother as someone she admires.

“I’ve always wanted to play like [Curtis]. The way he plays is very cool. I’ve always looked up to him,” said Carolyn.

Without the help of Curtis, Carolyn believes that she would not stand where she is today.

Both Chens say they hope to keep playing the violin into their adulthood.

“I want to keep playing violin for the rest of my life,” said Carolyn. “It will definitely be a lifetime hobby.”