For six years, Lilian’s been a member of the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory. Established in 1945, SDYS is the sixth-oldest continuously operating youth symphony in the United States, serving close to 700 beginning through advanced and pre-professional students annually in 13 full orchestras and ensembles.
Each year, talented students from the symphony and conservatory's most advanced level Ovation, and intermediate-level Showcase ensemble programs compete in SDYS’ solo Concerto Competitions.
In addition to cash scholarship awards, the winners of both competitions gain the opportunity to perform as featured soloists in future San Diego Youth Symphony concerts.
Asked by Beach & Bay Press if she intended to pursue music as a career, Lilian, who’s played violin for eight-plus years, had a somewhat surprising response.
“It may as well be — I’m really into music,” she said. “But honestly, my dreams are actually to be an astronaut. But I’d like to have music on the side because it’s a passion of mine.”
Why an astronaut?
“When I was young I met Buzz Aldrin (one of the first two men on the moon), got a book signed by him,” said Lilian noting she was overwhelmed. “I wore a spacesuit every night. My parents had to drag me out of it.”
Asked if she’d like to go to the moon or to a space station, Lilian replied, “Mars is it. Even getting up to the moon is a huge accomplishment.”
Concerning the importance of music to her, Lilian said, “It means a lot. I feel it just connects to my life in a lot of ways. It really does inspire me. It gives you sad — and happy — moments. It kind of helps me through everything.”
Lilian’s prize for winning the violin competition was $200 and an opportunity to perform her winning concerto excerpt as a featured soloist backed by the SDYS Sinfonia orchestra in spring 2020 when the Youth Symphony performs its 24th annual Celebration of Music Education concerts at Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall.
That excites and frightens, the young musician. “I’m nervous,” she admitted while pointing out, “Nerves push you to do more, and I’ve got a lot of experience with going on stage through ballet.”
Asked for advice she’d give to other students pursuing music competitively, Lilian said, first and foremost, that it’s entirely worthwhile.
“It’s a great experience,” she said. “Be there for the experience. Don’t let anything hold you back.”
The youthful musician also encouraged anyone interested in music to become an SDYS member.
“SDYS has helped me through hard and happy times,” Lilian said. “I’ve made so many new friends and if you need a friend, they’re always there. Also, the conductors are great, and the program has a lot of volunteering opportunities, such as chamber and auditions, a hard process but one that gets you motivated and excited.”
Asked her philosophy on pursuing music, Lilian offered this advice: “You work to put in the hours — you get a good result.”