jiawei cui interview

Music is a hard career to manage and master, but for expert musicians who love and appreciate music in all its forms, pursuing this career path is almost inevitable. 

Having that deep connection to music fuels everything else: the countless hours of practicing and performances in all kinds of venues for all kinds of audiences. And that’s not even getting into the process of listening to and learning about new and unfamiliar music. 

There are plenty of challenges waiting for anyone who wants to spend their life playing music at the professional level, but for those with enough passion, those challenges don’t stand a chance of getting in the way. 

This brings us to violinist Jiawei Cui, whose love of music has led to a successful career in classical music, session playing, music education, and many, many live performances. For classical performances alone, Cui has played in places like Boston Symphony Hall, Mechanics Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Beijing Concert Hall. 

He’s instructed students in both China and the US, and his session work has had him playing for pop musicians as well as prominent composers. Cui is engaged with music, in some form, every single day, and his commitment is clearly paying off. 

LNGFRM loves music, too, just in case you haven’t noticed, so we were very excited to interview Cui about his relationship with music as a whole, what he’s been up to recently, and what he’s been listening to. 

Thanks for talking with us! Right off the bat, what have you been working on over the past year or so?

This past year, I’ve been trying to get as many gigs as I can, which has included work with the Chrysalis Rock Orchestra and 8Bit Band. In my own time, I’ve mainly been practicing orchestra excerpts, and I hope to get a job with a symphony orchestra in the near future. 

Have you always been open to different genres of music? In the past, how have you gone about exploring these different genres?

I’ve always focused on classical music in the past, but now, I am definitely open to learning new genres and exploring those genres. And now that I’m getting many different kinds of gigs, I’m being exposed to different genres and song types I’ve never heard before. It’s been a lot of fun to learn and perform all this music. 

Have you always been comfortable with traveling for performances? Do you prefer to work out of a single location?

I love traveling for performances. Working in a single location can be dry. so sometimes a change in scenery might spice up my music a bit. 

Are there any aspects of working as a professional musician that you don’t enjoy?

No, at least not any that I can think of right now. There might be aspects that are less enjoyable than others, but in general, I enjoy my work very much.  

Would you say you’re part of a musical community? How often do you collaborate with other players, songwriters, etc.?

In a very literal sense, yes I am. My friends and I often perform for different events. We also work on chamber music together and are planning to apply for competitions. Playing with others makes music so much more interesting. 

Who are some of the artists you’ve been listening to recently? 

Recently I’ve been listening to Yu Xiang, Karson Leong, and Ziyu He. 

To close out, what excites you the most about music right now?

I think the most exciting thing for me at the moment is working on difficult pieces and being able to perform them well. 


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