MuChen Hsieh, principal second violin, shares what’s inside her violin case.
1. VIOLIN by Boston violin maker Andrew Ryan. “I commissioned this violin in 2014 while living in Boston.” 2. CLOTH COVER protects the violin inside the case. “It came from the inside liner of a dress my grandma made for me.” 3. BOWS by maker Benoit Rolland. “I bought one bow from my former teacher Malcolm Lowe, and then commissioned the other bow the same year.” 4. VIOLIN STRINGS “I generally replace my strings every two to three months. Sometimes the E string needs to be replaced more often.” 5. CLOTH for onstage tidying, given to MuChen by her mother. 6. PHOTOS from left to right: MuChen’s tenure party after a concert, a baby shower for violinist Tina Zhang, a Symphony gala, and a second violin group photo from MuChen’s 2019 concerto performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre. “These people and experiences are so close to me and my violin, so whenever I open my case, I think of them and the memorable concerts we played together.” 7. ROSIN adds friction and resistance between the bow and strings. “I apply rosin on my bows daily.” 8. SHOULDER REST “This is the Pirastro KorfkerRest, made with bendable maple tone wood and very easy to adjust.” 9. VIOLIN CASE About 5 years old. “I have a new case sitting at home, but I am not ready to change yet.” 10. AUTOGRAPHS Hilary Hahn, Augustin Hadelich, and Emanuel Ax. 11. CHARM A gift from MuChen’s mother, it features the second character of her name (“Chen”) inscribed in Chinese. “My sister has the same case and charm with her name on it too.”