SSO Spotlight 4: Andy Lan

Andy_Lan

Name: Andrew (Andy) Lan
Instrument: Violin
Class of 1994

Our fearless (and ageless) leader Andy Lan hails from Los Angeles, California. After earning a B.A. in Slavic Languages and a B.S. in Biology at Stanford in 1994, an M.P.H. from UC Berkeley in 1999, and an M.D. from UC San Diego in 2000, Andy began his career as a pediatrician, which he currently practices at RAMBLC Pediatric Medical Group in Los Gatos. However, that’s not the only thing he practices; After a two-decade hiatus, Andy returned to the violin section of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, where he still manages to show up on time and splendidly perform at every rehearsal.

When did you start playing the violin? Did you/do you play any other instruments?I started playing violin when I was 5 (the story goes that I took a pair of chopsticks and was pretending one stick was a bow and the other a violin, so my parents figured I was telling them something and they enrolled me in Suzuki lessons!).  I also started learning viola in high school.

Do you have any hobbies, outside of music?
I don’t have too much leftover time after music and my work, but when I do I enjoy traveling, the outdoors, playing board games, reading, and salsa dancing.

How long have you been in the SSO? What has been your favorite/most memorable moment so far?
This is my 7th year (I was in SSO for all 4 undergrad years and 3 years since rejoining).  My favorite memories have to be our tours to China in 1995 and Europe in 2013 as well as the opening of Bing Concert Hall. 


Despite commuting in as a community member, you are always on time for rehearsals, have your music annotated and ready to go, and leave smiling! How do you balance your job commitments with your musical ones?
In true INTJ personality-type fashion, I try to be as organized as possible in all things and I am very fortunate in my job situation in that, since there are 9 of us pediatricians, I can arrange for coverage or swap calls so that I can embrace the full SSO experience (rehearsals, retreat, social outings, tour)!

What is one interesting, non-musical fact about you? The less likely someone would guess this about you, the better.
It’s a bit hard for me to think of an interesting fact about myself that doesn’t involve music…but I suppose one factoid that qualifies is that I’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

SSO Spotlight 3: Elise Lasker

Elise Lasker SSO photo

Name: Elise Lasker
Instrument: Oboe
Dorm: Toyon
Class of 2017

Hailing from Sugar Land, Texas, Elise Lasker has a disposition as sweet as her hometown suggests. Elise is currently in her second season of the SSO, and as a sophomore in the oboe section has tackled a wide variety of challenging repertoire. Although she hasn’t yet declared a major, Elise has already proven herself at Stanford to be a brilliant, caring, and talented member of the Class of 2017.

How and when did you get your start on the oboe? Did you play any other instruments beforehand?
I started playing [the oboe] in the 6th grade, in band class. I played piano for a few years before that.

What’s an enjoyable experience or funny anecdote you’d like to share from your time in SSO?
Well, hanging out in the oboe section is generally fun. One anecdote is that Max and Edward [the fellow oboists in the SSO] sing a lot of musical snippets during breaks.

What’s an interesting, weird, and non-musical fact about you?
I had a childhood fear of condiments (especially mayo and ketchup).

Do you have a cause or passion that you care deeply about?
I love people [laughs]! This may come as a surprise, since I am not the most outspoken person ever. I’m pretty quiet, but I love listening to people. I’m working on becoming a peer counselor at the Bridge, and I’m a small group leader for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. If anyone ever wants to talk, I’m all ears!

SSO Spotlight 2: Jake Gold

Jake Gold SSO Photo

Name: Jake Gold
Instrument: French Horn
Dorm: Roble
Major: Earth Systems and Civil Engineering
Class of 2018

Jake Gold, an up-and-coming freshman from Santa Monica, has already become one of the best French Horn players in the Symphony. Raised by two environmentally-conscious parents, Jake has always been aware of the global climatic issues facing both future generations and his own. That’s why Jake is firm in his resolve to major in Earth Systems and Civil Engineering; they offer him an education and a career that can better both himself and society. With a charming smile and an altruistic mindset, Jake continues to make the best of all Stanford has to offer.

How (and when) did you get your start on the French Horn? Did you play any other instruments beforehand?
I began playing French Horn when I was in 8th grade. At that point, I had already been playing trumpet for 5 years, and thought adding another instrument for my high school career would be valuable. The two instruments seemed similar enough to me, but both sent me on very different paths performance-wise. 

Do you have a funny anecdote, or a good memory from your time in SSO so far?
During the SSO retreat, [the Symphony] had just finished a two-and-a-half hour rehearsal, ending around 10 PM. We were all extremely tired and were heading off to an enjoyable bonfire get-together with both staff and students – this was our chance to take a break from playing and have fun getting to know each other. The French horns had that exact mindset… but from a different perspective. We spent the next two-and-a-half hours in the hall playing octets with one another until our lips gave out and we called it a night. The best break from one type of music is another!

What’s an interesting, non-musical fact about you? Bonus points if it’s something no one would ever suspect about you.
I was born with a heart defect known as transposition of the great vessels. This is a life-threatening ailment that results from the aorta and pulmonary arteries being switched with one another. The science to perform the surgery was less than a decade old when I was born, so [for that] I am extremely grateful.
(Bonus points awarded)

 Do you have any siblings? Are they as musical as you?
I have two extremely tone deaf siblings, a brother and sister. My brother is a senior here at Stanford studying Marine Biology and Environmental Engineering. He’s very bright, and we often hang out around campus when we have free time. I also have a younger sister in 10th grade who is a remarkable swimmer. She can be a drama queen sometimes, but is also extremely intelligent.

 

Girl with the Flaxen Hair: Hannah Thompson (SSO Spotlight 1)

hannah thompson SSO photo

Name: Hannah Thompson
Instrument: Viola
Dorm: Burbank
Class of 2018

From a small town in Wisconsin, freshman Hannah Thompson has joined the ranks of violas in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. A member of the Class of 2018, Hannah has not yet declared a major, but plans on pursuing something within the engineering department. With musical gifts, bouncing golden locks and a sharp mind, Hannah has embraced Stanford and all it has to offer.

 What’s your musical background?
I started out on piano, and then moved to the viola, and now I also play the guitar. With viola, I play in orchestra, pit orchestra, quartets, and everything fun because it’s amazing! With guitar, I’m involved at Jewish services, so that’s a big part of my life. Piano, I just play for fun.

Everyone has a hidden talent, or “fun fact” about them. What’s yours?
I enjoy cycling, as a sport. I’ve ridden by bike, I’d say… 2000 miles in the past two years. It’s really fun! We do big rides where we carry all our stuff… so, that’s what I do.

You’ve only been on campus a short time, but I’m sure lots of things have happened. What has been your favorite moment on the Farm so far?
That’s a good question… it’s not a moment, but hearing all the music from Burbank, because it’s got the ITALIC learning community with all the arts students. I’m not in [ITALIC], but it’s so much fun to be in such an artsy environment, where everyone will just have jam sessions in the halls.

One final question; do you have any favorite/funny moments from SSO?
I think, [during rehearsal in Fall quarter 2014] when everyone turned around, still trying to play and look at their Mahler music, just to see the guy with the hammer [laughs]… that’s my favorite moment.

SSO Spotlights: Introduction

Featured

In the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, musicians are united by their shared love of music. Behind the instruments and elegant attire, a community diverse in every way imaginable thrives. The SSO is home to a wide range of interesting musicians, from freshmen to seniors, grad students, and community members, of many nationalities, circumstances, and backgrounds. Most importantly, though, the Symphony is filled with incredible people. It is my sincere hope that, through learning about the members of the SSO, you will view this vibrant community in a new light.

-Andrew Jabara
Coordinator, SSO Committee

Five members of the SSO, from left to right: Brad Girardeau (Violin), Elise Lasker (Oboe), Ben Yeh (Cello), Tessera Chin (Viola), Jake Gold (French Horn)

A few of the amazing members in the SSO; from left to right: Brad Girardeau (Violin), Elise Lasker (Oboe), Ben Yeh (Cello), Tessera Chin (Viola), Jake Gold (French Horn)
 

 

 

Bonn: The First Step

The Symphony has arrived in Germany! After touching down at Frankfurt airport, we blazed toward the city of Bonn, our first stop on the tour.

Bonn_town

Bonn was once the capital of West Germany, during the period after World War II. Though the national capital was moved back to Berlin after 1990, with the unification of East and West Germany, the city continues to house numerous civil servants from the federal government, as well as several United Nations agencies.

Our tour guides mentioned that Bonn is sometimes called a “large town” rather than a full-scale city; it has a population of 328,000 compared to Berlin’s 3.5 million inhabitants. However, this is not to its detriment. The streets were pleasant and walkable, with lots of green public spaces.

Like many other Germany cities, Bonn encourages walking and bicycling as forms of transit, and we found the old city center and surrounding streets to be eminently walkable, Particularly noteworthy are the bike lanes: bicyclists zipped down special paths separated from cars, often painted adjacent to (and level with) the sidewalk. If you are on foot, be sure to stay out of the bike lane!

Collage of bicycle photos

Bonn is a university town, with the Universität Bonn as a focal point. We noticed plenty of students out on the grass enjoying the sunshine, as Stanford students are also apt to do.

Universitat Bonn's "Oval"

It’s just like the Stanford Oval! Although Universitat Bonn’s version is actually more of a rectangle…

Despite many yawns, we also had our first rehearsal in the afternoon, as our series of concerts begins tomorrow. We’re catching a good night’s rest before our tour of the Beethovenhaus in the morning, so for now, gute Nacht!

This Symphony Diary was prepared by Kevin Hsu.

Goodbye, Dink, and hello, Bing!

It’s been a busy couple weeks here for us at SSO – we just had our final concert at Dinkelspiel Auditorium before we officially move into Bing Concert Hall, our new home! Our concerto competition winner (and SSO violinist!), Eric Wu ’13, played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 magnificently, and we rounded out the performance with Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5

We also started rehearsals in Bing this month! It is truly a marvelous venue, and we are so incredibly fortunate to be able to call it our new home. We are looking forward to helping usher in a new era for SSO and the arts at Stanford in January!

Finally, we’ve got a new Facebook page! Make sure to head on over to facebook.com/StanfordSymphonyOrchestra and “like” us to stay in touch, receive up-to-date news and concert info, and get exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peeks of all our activities!

Our spook-tacular Halloween concert

Photos before and after our annual Halloween concert!

String sectionals with Nancy Wu

We were fortunate enough to hold a string sectional recently with Nancy Wu, associate concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera! Thanks to Nancy and all the other local musicians who have come in to make sectionals possible for everyone in the orchestra!