Chun-Hsin Chang began her journey toward musical mastery when she was just a toddler.
Chang, 36, started playing the piano at the age of 3, and began playing the cello when she was 7.
After she graduated from University of Texas five years ago, she began the process of auditioning and interviewing for music positions in the Destin area. In 2007, she landed one with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary during its 2012-2013 season.
In her role as principal cello for NFSO, she is expected to be the leader of the cello players while coordinating the rhythm of their movements. She leads five cello players and four double bass players.
“I’ve always been passionate about working with other musicians,” said Chang. “I enjoy playing in the orchestra, so that’s where I wanted to be working.”
Chang is originally from Taiwan.
She was selected into a program for gifted musicians at the age of 7 in Taiwan, and was required to choose a second instrument to play besides the piano.
Chang said that the orchestra conductor at the school told her she was tall and had big hands, so the cello was the instrument that suited her best.
“I actually wanted to learn the harp,” she said. “But, at the time, 30 something years ago, we only had one harp teacher in the entire country, so it was very expensive to get the lessons, so we didn’t go with the idea. So I just learned the cello and I like it.”
Chang won her first national music competition at the age of 9, playing the cello.
When she was 14, she studied abroad in places like New Zealand and New York City.
Chang attended Juilliard in NYC for a year, followed by a semester of interior design school.
At 18, she moved back to Taiwan to earn a college degree in music. There, she taught music to elementary students for three years.
She then relocated to San Francisco to study for her master’s in music. After that, she moved to Austin, Texas, for three years to earn her doctorate in music from University of Texas.
At UT, Chang played in the school orchestra and performed with other professional musicians. After graduating, she followed the love of her life to Destin. The birth of two daughters pushed the couple to move to Santa Rosa Beach.
Chang likes Destin because of how different it is in comparison with the many cities she’s lived in.
“It’s like a paradise, an escape from all the busy life, and it’s great for families,” she said.
From 2007-2008, Chang was the string instructor at NWFSC, in which she taught all stringed instruments like the violin, cello and double bass.
In 2007, the NFSO introduced its first full-time conductor and music director — Jeffrey Rink.
“He is really a professional in what he does,” she said. “I really enjoy working with him and just having the chance and all the opportunities to be with professional musicians.”
The NFSO season kicks off on Sept. 22 and throughout its September to May season, it will host five concerts. The opening concert will be at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville, starting at 7:30 p.m. Its concert events will all be in honor of the orchestra’s milestone anniversary.
“Hopefully, we can have more chances to interact with other orchestras or just even exchange performances — perform outside of the Florida state,” said Chang. “And maybe continue to invite more famous soloists, musicians to work with us, so the local people can get more exposed to the different cultures.”
Aside from being a part of the orchestra, Chang also helps manage her husband’s company called Healing Art Acupuncture and Massage in Miramar Beach. Her hobbies include traveling and studying interior design.
To learn more about the NFSO, visit mattiekellyartscenter.org.
“Music is a language that you touch different peoples’ hearts, so everyone can react to the same music differently,” Chang said.