In our second instalment of our Alumni Spotlight series, we spoke with Janet Hwu, a former SDYS violinist from 2000-2005, to see what she is up to today. Learn more about her cool job at Disney, advice to current SDYS members and her happiest memories from SDYS, below.
What did you do after graduating high school and SDYS?
I attended Stanford University. At Stanford, I joined and toured Thailand in a taiko, or Japanese drum, ensemble and majored in Product Design. While in college, I entered a design competition that led to my current job as a production designer at Walt Disney Imagineering. Right now, I’m preparing for an October relocation to Shanghai for two years to build a new Disneyland there! What a ride it has been.
Has your musical experience influenced you in any way?
My musical upbringing taught me diligence and patience. Also, it helped me put fear into perspective, as nothing is as scary as playing solo in front of a large group of people.
If you aren’t busy at Disney, what do you do in your spare time?
I play taiko occasionally and I swing dance.
How has music enriched your life?
It gave me an appreciation for the arts and for history.
If you could tell a young SDYS musician one thing you learned while participating in SDYS, what would you tell them?
Don’t play loudly when you’re playing it wrong. Don’t over-rosin your bow. And win points with your stand partner by writing in excellent fingering notes!
What is your happiest moment from SDYS?
Playing Scheherazade in concert at Copley and walking around Balboa Park with friends during rehearsal breaks.
Ok, be honest – what’s your least favorite memory?
When Mr. Edmons went one-by-one down the line of first violinists to find out who could really play the third movement of Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony.