Introducing Boson Mo, violin

Introducing Boson Mo, violin

Winner of Third Prize at the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, violinist Boson Mo joined the Houston Symphony in 2019.

Boson has been featured as a Young Artist in Residence of American Public Media’s Performance Today and has been broadcast both in the United States and internationally on Radio New Zealand and CBC Radio-Canada. He was a candidate at major international violin competitions such as the Tchaikovsky (Moscow, Russia), Queen Elisabeth (Brussels, Belgium), Indianapolis, and Montreal competitions, among others. Boson has spent formative summers at the Perlman Music Program, Music@Menlo, Aspen Music Festival and School, and is an alum of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Boson served as acting assistant concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in the autumn of 2017. Boson will forever be a student of mentors Keqiang Li and Paul Kantor, and currently performs on a violin by MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Joseph Curtin.

Musicians playing violins at Carnegie Hall.
Boson with Houston Symphony colleague Anastasia Ehrlich dress rehearsal at Carnegie Hall.

How has your experience been since joining the orchestra?
I’ve loved every moment: I love that my job gives me the opportunity to work amongst so many stunningly talented musicians. Going to work has been a great opportunity to learn from and be inspired by my colleagues. Being one of the newest members, I’m just so flattered to be a part of this great family!

What was your audition like? Do you have any fun notes about it you would like to share?
It was intense! My favorite part of the whole process was the chamber music component—I really appreciated the opportunity to play with members of the committee at the end of the audition process. Chamber music is my “comfort music” so to speak, and I really found it very pleasant and soothing to end an audition process with that.

A group of people in front of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany.
In front of the Bach statue at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany with Houston Symphony colleague Jarita Ng, viola.

Did you move to Houston for this job? If you did, what do you love most about it?
I actually moved back to Houston for this job—I was at Rice University from 2012 to 2017, which was followed by a stint with the Vancouver Symphony before moving back here. I’m constantly inspired by the optimism and can-do spirit of Houstonians. I love the diversity of cultures here, and it gives me confidence that there is room for me to make my contribution, too.

Do you have a particular musician or teacher that you admire? If so, who and why?
There are honestly too many! I’m eternally grateful to my two teachers Paul Kantor and Keqiang Li for two decades of mentorship. I’m in awe of everything Itzhak and Toby Perlman have done, not only in terms of a prolific output of gorgeous music, but also in their commitment and dedication to the mentoring of young musicians through their Perlman Music Program. I aspire to have the fortitude of pianists Martha Argerich and Yuja Wang; their endeavor to make each new performance better and more meaningful than their last is truly inspirational. I’ve also recently been obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda—his artistic output has a very visceral relevance, and I admire that so much.

Violinists performing together.
Boson during a performance at Music@Menlo.

How did you choose your instrument?
At the risk of embarrassing one of my Symphony colleagues, I started learning the violin because I heard a performance of hers. We were both kids back then, and I remember hearing her play a jaw-droppingly exquisite Mozart Violin Concerto. My parents had already enrolled me in cello lessons at that time, so it didn’t take much convincing to have them switch me to a “smaller cello”!

What hobbies and other activities do you enjoy?
As a musician, I’ve had the privilege of travelling as part of my work. I’ve really enjoyed documenting my experiences and as a result, photography and videography have emerged as some of my favorite pursuits outside violin. I’m not very good yet, but I’m eager to get better at it!

Violinist and pianist perform together.
Boson performing at the MFAH with pianist Andrew Staupe.

What music are you currently listening to?
This year marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, so I’m currently rediscovering his string quartets through the Cleveland Quartet’s recordings. I’ve also been obsessed with the online archives of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, so I’ve been slowly working my way through their prolific collection of performances.

What does music mean to you?
Music is the career I chose, but it has also allowed me to be part of a superb community of people and given me another voice with which I can communicate. It means more than I’m able to express with words.

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