At the age of 17, Toronto-based violist Lynn Sue-A-Quan has already been invited to play with several orchestras including Sinfonia Toronto, Symphony on the Bay, and Toronto Sinfonietta. She has also been a winner of many awards at numerous music festivals and competitions including National Music Festival, North York Music Festival, and Canadian Music Competition. Lynn also has an active chamber music ensemble called Con Fuoco String Quartet, which was invited to perform in Neapolitan Connection's 2013 Young Masters of Classical Music
Gala Concert. We enjoyed learning about Lynn Sue and her most recent musical endeavors in the interview below:
NC: You were a violinist before becoming a violist. What made you decide to become a violist?
LSAQ: I was first introduced to the viola at the chamber program at the Taylor Performance Academy. There, all the violinists were required to learn how to play the viola so we can switch positions. Most of the violinists in the program didn’t like the viola but I really liked the sound and the way it fit within the music. I started to consider it seriously in 2015, when my highschool teacher gave me the idea of completely switching. By the time, I was doing most of my orchestra and chamber programs with the viola while studying my solo rep with the violin but the thought never occurred to me. I was beginning to enjoy the viola more and more and by 2016 I completely switched.
NC: Have you performed in any different Canadian provinces, or countries?
LSAQ: I’ve performed in Vancouver, Edmonton, Quebec, and Montreal for competitions. I’ve also performed in America, Japan, and China.
NC: What do you love most about violin, and about the viola?
LSAQ: I absolutely love the feeling of playing on the viola. The sound that comes out of the instrument is so deep and caring that I can’t help but want to play more! For the violin, the clarity and the shine that comes through is very alluring.
NC: If you could only play one piece of music for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
LSAQ: I would play Beethoven’s Razumovsky String Quartets. There’s so much depth in Beethoven’s string quartet music, it’s a constant search for perfection!
NC: Who, or what inspires you?
LSAQ: My teacher, Teng Li, inspires me a lot. Her devotion to music and perfection really pushed me forward in my studies with her. After every lesson, I’m always inspired and motivated to become a better version of myself; not only as a musician but also as a human being. I aspire to be like her one day!
NC: If you could meet any musician past or present, who would it be and why?
LSAQ: If I had a chance, I would love to meet William Primrose. I love his tone and musicality from his recordings. It would be such a great pleasure to be able to hear him live.
NC: Tell us about your most exciting performance experience so far.
LSAQ: My most exciting performance was when I performed in my string quartet recital. We performed Beethoven’s Razumovsky String Quartet No.3 and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No.6. It was such a fun experience to be able to play the music you love with the people you love! Chamber music requires a lot of attention and understanding from each player but when everything comes together, it’s so much fun. I remember by the last movement, we were all smiling at each other.
NC: What other music genres do you enjoy listening to?
LSAQ: Other than classical music, I tend to lean towards indie rock, indie pop, and indie folk music. It’s calming but powerful music which really captivates me as a listener.
NC: What are your hobbies and interests outside of music?
LSAQ: Outside of music, I love to read. I love to learn from experiences from a completely different world than mine. I’m currently reading a lot of Agatha Christie. I also love to bake but I have yet to master the pie crust!
Watch Lynn Sue's fantastic performance of the 1st Mvt of Rebecca Clarke's Viola Sonata: