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Musician prays through violin

Hasun Yoo’s senior recital, with a twist

Photo provided by Taylor Music Department

Photo provided by Taylor Music Department

Katie Pfotzer | Echo

Why would a successful violinist drop out of a prestigious music school to come to a small school like Taylor University?

Even among the most ardent of Taylor enthusiasts, this might raise a few eyebrows.

“When I was (leaving) New England Conservatory, which is one of the top five music schools in the world, people would always ask me why I was quitting,” senior Hasun Yoo said. “In a worldly view, it is crazy. People would ask me ‘why did you quit that school and come to a small Christian school?’ But I think I learned so much from here — so many valuable things that I could not have learned at NEC.”

New England Conservatory was one of many prestigious music schools that Yoo attended from the time she was in sixth grade. She also spent time at the Yewon Arts School in Seoul, South Korea and the Purcell School of Music in Watford, England.

For Yoo, coming to Taylor was the chance to change her approach to music.

“I had never learned music from that perspective before, but here the professors, not only the music professors, teach through the Bible and through the wisdom in the Bible,” Yoo said.

Yoo performed with this passion for Christian art in mind at her senior recital on Thursday, March 7.

The concert began with the usually classical fare — some Bach, Brahms, Dvorchak. However, the highlight of the evening was “Spring of Home Country,” a Korean Folk song.

“I chose this piece specifically for my family because they know this song,” Yoo said. “(The lyrics) talk about how the composer really wants to go back home which is my situation. I really miss home.”

The musician said the distance between the family members often makes gathering difficult.  

Thankfully, the song choice was not only a symbolic gesture.

“My family came all the way from South Korea and California,” Yoo said. “They cannot come to the graduation but they came to the senior recital. That’s what I was most excited about.”

Yoo played the night of the concert with a kind of prayerful concentration.

That was no accident, but the culmination of all Yoo has learned.

“I have played the violin for almost 20 years now, but (coming to Taylor) changed my perspective in playing the violin and practicing the violin,” Yoo said. “Sometimes, the practice room is really lonely. I have to be by myself sometimes practicing this one measure over and over for three hours. How it changed my perspective is that when I am in the practice room, God is with me. I am praying to him through this instrument. That changed my whole life: the meaning of music and why I play the violin and why God gave me this gift. It is so amazing that they taught me why I play after 20 years.”

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