Juilliard Student Recital: Julia McLean, Viola with Collaborative Piano
Friday December 13, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pmFree
Julia McLean, Viola
Violist Julia McLean is pursuing her Masters of Music degree at The Juilliard School studying with Misha Amory. Based in New York City, she is a diverse performer and teacher as well as an advocate for interdisciplinary work through the arts. She plays a 1988 Terry Borman viola on generous loan from the Doublestop Foundation.
Born in Paris into a Chinese-American and British family, Julia grew up in a multicultural household. Her grandmother taught piano in Hong Kong during wartime to support her family before immigrating to the United States, teaching all her children musical instruments and instilling a lasting musical tradition. Julia began playing the violin at age 5 while living in San Francisco, subsequently moving to Boston and then Paris. She switched to viola at 16 when she moved back to Boston, studying with Rictor Noren, who she continued to study with while earning her Bachelor of Science at Tufts University in Biopsychology. During her third year at Tufts, she traveled to Vienna to study music for 5 months through the International Education of Students Vienna Music program and with former Concertgebouw violist Matthias Maurer. Through her multicultural background and opportunities to perform and study internationally, Julia loves music for its ability to foster understanding and sympathy across national and cultural boundaries.
An avid orchestral player, Julia was principal viola in the New York String Orchestra’s 50th anniversary celebration in Carnegie Hall in 2018 and is a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra 2018 and 2019, where she has had the opportunity to play under the baton of Christopher Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Gianandrea Noseda, and Simon Rattle, among others. During the 2019 festival, she was principal viola for a concert of Schubert’s Symphony no. 9 under Maestro Manfred Honeck. She also was a member of the orchestra of the Spoleto Festival USA 2019. She also performed as a member of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and currently serves as a substitute for the New World Symphony and Symphony in C. In 2017 Julia participated in Music Academy of the West’s 75th anniversary season and in 2016 attended the Aspen Music Festival, where she studied with Masao Kawasaki. Julia was a long standing member and associate principal viola of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, appearing on their recordings of Mahler’s Symphony no. 9 and Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 5, and appearing on a feature about the orchestra on CNN. On tour, she has performed with them in critically acclaimed performances in the world’s most famous concert halls including the Berlin Philharmonia, Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Salzburg’s Mozarteum, and Vienna’s Musikverein, as well as performing regularly in Symphony Hall in Boston.
As a chamber musician, Julia appeared in Juilliard’s ChamberFest 2019 performing the Mendelssohn Octet coached by Catherine Cho. In collaboration with the Juilliard Dance department, the same group performed the Octet in Juilliard’s Spring Dances concert in March 2019, alongside Bill T. Jones’ D-Man in the Waters. She also appeared in many performances during Music Academy of the West’s String Quartet Seminar coached by the Takács Quartet. Other chamber appearances include Juilliard, Tufts University, and Aspen chamber ensembles, as well as the From the Top Community Performance Series, which brings chamber music performances to community centers across greater Boston.
As a soloist, Julia was the winner of the Tufts Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition as a first year undergraduate, performing the first movement of Rebecca Clarke’s Viola Sonata arranged for orchestra by Ruth Lomon, a local Boston area composer. She was also the winner of the New Philharmonia Orchestra Emerging Talents Competition, appearing in concert performing the first movement of J.C. Bach’s Viola Concerto. A finalist in Juilliard’s viola concerto competition in 2019, she has also appeared in recitals at Tufts University and Juilliard, and masterclasses with violists Cynthia Phelps, Richard O’Neill, and Karen Dreyfus, and conductor Benjamin Zander.
Julia is involved in teaching and outreach in New York City. She is a Morse Teaching Fellow and Gluck Fellow through the Juilliard Community Engagement program, teaching in New York public schools and bringing interactive performances to medical facilities, respectively. As a student mentor with the Tufts Youth Philharmonic, she coached young musicians in orchestral sectionals and played alongside them in rehearsals. She has taught and tutored students not only in music, but also in Biology while she was an undergraduate. Julia greatly values interdisciplinary work and integration of science and the arts. Her studies with music psychologist Dr. Anirrudh Patel on the interaction of music, language, and the brain inspire her artistic choices as well as her teaching method. Her passion for teaching stems from her motivation to pass on a love of music, aiming to encourage and develop new audiences and inspire a new generation of musicians.
Julia is also a visual artist and has sold many original artworks. After being awarded a Gold Key in the Scholastic Art & Writing awards in 2014, she was a featured artist in an exhibit in Boston Town Hall. Her ongoing series, String Impressions, features paintings on unusable string instruments that were kindly donated to her from instrument shops and schools. These pieces are each inspired by her personal musical experiences or those of the commissioner and often represent a specific musical memory. She is taking commissions for further pieces in this series.