STEPHEN FANG

Associate Principal

Stephen_Fang_-_full.jpgSTEPHEN FANG has been Assistant Principal Cellist of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra since 2007. Prior to joining the NJSO, he served as Assistant Principal of the Aspen Festival Orchestra and Akron Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the IRIS Chamber Orchestra and Canton Symphony Orchestra.

As a chamber musician, he won the Grand Prize at the 30th Annual Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (with the Verklärte Quartet) and First Prize at the 56th and 59th Annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competitions (with the Linden and Svanito Quartets, respectively). He was featured in the Fischoff Grand Prize Winner’s Tour, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Recital Series, Cleveland Chamber Music Society Series and Cleveland Chamber Music Guild Series.

He has performed concertos with orchestras including the NJSO, Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, Colonial Symphony, Livingston Symphony Orchestra, Montclair Chamber Ensemble and New Jersey Philharmonic.

Fang earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was the winner of the 2003 Ellis A. Feiman Memorial Award for Achievement in Cello and 2003 Dr. Bennett Levine Memorial Award for Achievement in Chamber Music. He studied with preeminent professors and principal cellists of major orchestras, including Carter Brey, Richard Aaron, Desmond Hoebig, Stephen Geber and Eric Kim.

HOMETOWN: I was born in Cleveland, but I grew up in Bridgewater, NJ.

FAVORITE PASTIMES: I’m almost always listening to music. If I don’t have music on, then I’m probably listening to NPR. (Apparently, I’m not very comfortable with silence.) I spend a lot of time cooking. I like hiking, watching movies and playing video games.

POPULAR LISTENING: A few of my favorite performers are Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Led Zeppelin, Muse, Nine Inch Nails, Phish, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Sia Furler and Zero 7.

FAVORITE TV SHOW: I watch “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” every day.

BEST CONCERT YOU’VE EVER ATTENDED: The most memorable concert I ever went to was probably the Takács Quartet playing all six Bartók Quartets in one night. It was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences I’ve ever had.

FAVORITE BEATLE: George Harrison. Five Words: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

FAVORITE DRINK: I’m passionate about good American craft beer. My favorite brewery is probably Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California.

CRAZY THING YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO TRY: I really want to go skydiving.

IF YOU WEREN’T A MUSICIAN, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE? I think I would go into medicine. I would have liked to be a surgeon.

ADVICE FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS: Go see and hear as much live music as you can! Also, remember to have fun and enjoy yourself. Learning to play a musical instrument can be hard work, but it’s also extremely rewarding. Finally, if you’re considering becoming a professional musician, don’t stop pursuing your studies in other areas. Continue to learn as much as you can about other subjects; expanding your horizons is very important to your musical development.

WHY MUSIC MATTERS: Everything I can think to say about why music matters sounds very cliché, but I guess it’s one of those instances where the clichés exist because they’re true.

INSPIRED BY: The music I get to play. Also, I’ve had the opportunity to train with some brilliant teachers and to work with many fantastic colleagues.