Now Hear This: an Interview with Julia and Jennifer Choi

Julia Choi with her violin; Jennifer Choi with her cello
Julia Choi & Jennifer Choi

Sisters Julia and Jennifer Choi have their own professional careers in different cities: Julia is a violinist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York City, and Jennifer is a cellist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The pandemic, however, has brought the sisters together in Dallas and FACP gets to enjoy this silver lining: together they will perform with Artistic Director and DSO Principal Harp, Emily Levin, for the next Hallam Family Concert: SHADOWS & LIGHT on Saturday, April 24. REGISTER TODAY! As always, the concert is free but you must register to attend this online concert.

What should attendees listen for in the Renié Trio?   This trio blends the harmonic refinement that characterizes French music with the thematic cohesion typical of the Germanic tradition. We encourage the audience to listen for the wide range of characteristics and colors in the piece: to feel with us the triumphant music-making in the opening, the rustic simplicity of the middle section, juxtaposed with the fantasy, mystery, and drama of the remainder.

Our favorite is the incredibly beautifully poignant and intimate third movement. The last movement opens with an enigmatic introduction, recalling the main themes of the previous movement. While at first, the piece seems to end with uncertainty, it becomes a quick folk-music-inspired one with a festive flourish. It is a hopeful analogy to what we are living today: light at the end of the tunnel.

Notably, we are especially proud of the fact that it was composed by an amazing female composer.

Is chamber music a big part of your personal repertoire?    Yes! We love chamber music and are grateful to be studying and performing the Renié Trio together. We have played many chamber pieces as a string duo, string quartet, and as part of a piano trio, but we have never been part of this type of ensemble, so this is very exciting for us — especially to be playing alongside our friend, Emily Levin!

Two sisters who have both become professional musicians in elite organizations: wow! Did you know early on you wanted to pursue this as your career?    Our mom is a pianist, so we definitely grew up in a musical household. Our doors were always open to other journeys and career paths, so we weren’t solely looking to become professional musicians, but we had an inkling that this would be our path. We loved performing with peers and just being surrounded by music. Our dad likes to joke around and dubs himself the designated “karaoke singer” of the group.

What type of music did you listen to growing up? What do you listen to now?    We listened mostly to classical growing up, but now we listen to all genres. We love listening to anything from K-pop to jazz and hip-hop!

Who’s your favorite composer to listen to? Favorite to play?    We love listening to Schumann and Beethoven. Our favorites to play have to be Mahler or Strauss.

What advice would you give to a high schooler who wants to pursue music as a career?    Everything will eventually work out in the end, so be patient and trust yourself!

What’s your favorite sound? Your least favorite?    Due to the pandemic, Julia has been much deprived of an orchestra warming up right before a concert and tuning to the A. She misses it so much!    Least favorite sound? Probably nails on a chalkboard. One silver lining of online teaching!

When you leave this world and reach the pearly gates, what celestial concert do you hope to hear?    Beethoven Symphony No. 9: the perfect composition inspired by and reminding us of the triumph of universal brotherhood against war and desperation. Beethoven shares with us the wish for freedom, peace, and equality for all peoples! It is truly inspiring as a composition itself but also because of its message.


Fine Arts Chamber Players