The Cupertino Courier
Photograph by George Sakkestad
Seven-year-old Christine Chon--playing a violin modified to accommodate her small size--is set to make her 'world debut' as a
soloist with the De Anza Symphony in early June.
Seven-year-old to solo with the De Anza symphony
By Pam Marino
Christine Chon was just 6 years old when she picked up a pint-sized violin and played her first hesitating notes on the strings.
"She said, 'Daddy, this is easy, and also I like it,' " proud father Jaeson Chon said. Christine would practice, on her own
initiative, for sometimes two hours at a time. She would play songs by ear and try to figure out complicated finger positions on her own.
A year and a half later, Christine is about to solo for the first time with the De Anza Symphony.
Christine's teacher, James Xuan, introduced Christine and her father, Jaeson, to symphony director Michael Paul Gibson last
fall. Gibson was amazed at Christine's ability to play beyond what most children could play. He asked her to perform with the symphony, but her father decided it was too soon.
At 8 p.m. on June 11 at Foothill College, Christine will be playing the Violin Concerto in A minor by Antonio Vivaldi,
completely from memory. Gibson is heralding Christine's performance as her "world debut"; he calls her a child prodigy.
This, just a couple of years after other teachers turned Christine down because they said she was too young and too small. Very few violins are made as small as she needs.
Christine's brother, Timothy Chon, 19, a De Anza College student, also plays with the symphony. He started playing the violin at age 7 and was also encouraged to become a
professional. But he said he knew it was only a hobby for him.
At 7, the Garden Gate Elementary student said she already knows she wants to be a professional violinist. And she is willing to practice, practice, practice to reach her goal.
"She wants to do it," said Timothy, who gives Christine lots of pointers.
The drive pushing Christine from within is not unusual, her father said. At age 3 she saw some people performing cartwheels. When she got home she spent hours teaching
herself how to do them. She can now do one-handed cartwheels with ease all over the house.
"Her attitude is very good," Jaeson said. "She keeps doing it until it's done."
Christine is shy when asked questions, but she always flashes a big smile. She said she likes lots of other things besides practicing violin.
"I like to read stories, I like to play outdoors, I like to color, I like to play on the monkey bars," she said.