The wonderful world of strings could be at your fingertips. These instruments are the heart of an orchestra and chamber ensembles alike. A natural progression from learning piano, learning any of the string instruments is a great addition to any musician's journey.
Blenda Lau, who grew up in Hong Kong (China), had been playing the piano and violin since the age of 7. In 2013, with the Berklee Entrance Scholarship, she began her study at Berklee College of Music, with Film Scoring and Contemporary Writing & Production as her dual majors, minoring in Recording and Production for Musicians. Her principal instrument is piano/keyboard, but she also performs as a violinist and pipa-ist.
In July 2013, half year after she moved to Boston, she joined the Rhythm of the Universe. Enlightened with the fusion music that they were doing, she performed and arranged a traditional Chinese tune with beatboxer, Gene Shinozaki, and didgeridoo player, Max Jackson.
In July 2014, she started the band, Jong Jazz, of her playing the pipa with Billy Yeung on Dizi/Saxophone/Ewi, Jason Lee on violin and Victor Gonzalez on double bass. Then they began performing around Boston area. In January 2015, they were invited to tour for 10 days in Guangzhou, China.
Graduated in May 2015, she now moves to Los Angeles, CA and has started her music career as a film composer.
Maritza Ortiz graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico with a B.M. in Violin Performance, Musical Education studies and has trained with the Suzuki method. She started her musical training when she attended Libre the Musica School of the Arts in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, studying violin with Ernesto Delgado, piano with Carlos Vinolo and cuatro with Emma Figueroa.
She was recommended at age 15 to the Strings Program for children at the Conservatory of Music where she studied with Saul Ovcharov, among many other esteemed educators and has played in different professional recordings.
She has performed with different orchestras, including the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, San Juan Pops Orchestra, Arturo Somohano Orchestra, Conservatory of Music Orchestra, and countless groups across Puerto Rico and the US.
Ms. Ortiz has been teaching children and adults since 1989 in the areas of piano, music theory, violin, viola, cello and guitar and is committed to make music a lifetime experience for her students. She has coached children and young adults to prepare for auditions at Bak Middle School of the Arts, Dreyfoos School of Music in Palm Beach County, FL., and many other auditions and contests. Ms. Ortiz is artist resident/coach for the Boyle Heights Community Youth Orchestra in Los Angeles and a member of the Symphony 47 in Los Angeles.
She believes learning music, proven to help children excel in academics, improve mental focus, comprehend mathematics and science is an immeasurable part of any child’s education and is invaluable for their future success.
Yung-Hsin was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1991. She started taking piano and violin lessons at a young age and after playing both instruments for more than 13 years, decided to pursue music as a profession. In 2009 she got accepted into Taipei Municipal University of Education as piano major and violin minor, where she graduated with a focus on pedagogy. She was gaining experience working with children as an elementary school teacher at a public school in Taipei, while at the same time, working for three years for a private music studio teaching piano and violin students from early age to adults.
In order to broaden her musical studies, Yung-Hsin moved to Boston, USA, in 2013 after being accepted at Berklee College of Music on a World Tour Scholarship. At the same time, she was very active as the pianist of the student-run Society of Composers, where she collaborated with various composers on their works and also had her pieces performed and recorded by student orchestras. She was the solo and ensemble pianist for the society’s Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 concerts.
In 2016, she had the honor to serve as arranger and conductor for Chinese pop star Leehom Wang at a performance with full orchestra, choir and pop band at Boston’s Symphony Hall. In December 2017, she completed her diploma certificate with a major in Film Scoring and a minor in Scoring for TV and New Media.
Yung-Hsin moved to Los Angeles in 2108 and began to work on short films with different directors. She has finished scoring five projects so far. Her teaching philosophy focuses on reaching students at their individual needs and musical interests. Technical proficiency is paired with an emphasis on helping students to find and express their own and music’s inner emotions.
Cansu began her musical life at the age of eight in the conservatory as a violinist. Her early career featured many performances as a host of European Youth Symphony Orchestra’s. After graduating from Dokuz Eylul State Conservatory in Turkey, she started to work at Izmir State Theater Orchestra as a violinist. While working there she collaborated with members from the Royal Opera House which came to the Istanbul for one month run of La Boheme. In 2015, Cansu began attending Berklee College of Music where she became a member of the World Strings Ensemble and played for countless recording sessions, amongst those for a documentary by Dr. Jane Goodall Institute and recording a live album for Kaki King with Birn.
After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Cansu moved to Santa Monica, CA and started performing with Crown City and Culver City Symphony Orchestra. She also teaches many private students ranging in age from 9 - 14, the Colburn School of Music.
“Everyone should learn an instrument at some point of their life, even though if it’s not for a professional career choice. I believe it’s one of the most amusive experience in life, especially growing up as a kid with playing an instrument is so special. I always try to have fun with my students while practicing, and started to realized that teaching is unbelievably fulfilling.”