Yuri Ahn


Photo by Matt Dine

What is your earliest memory of classical music?

I was raised by a very musical family. My mom plays oboe and many of my aunts play piano and cello, so I can’t pinpoint the first time I recognized classical music. However, the first vivid memory of classical music I have is when I was really young and sitting in the balcony to watch an orchestra concert that my mom was in. It was the first time I saw so many different instruments and I thought to myself that I’m going to learn how to play all of them. I listed the instruments in the order that I wanted to learn them, from most to least, and I remember harp being my favorite and cello not so much. But now, I would definitely choose the cello first!

What is the most memorable performance you ever had?

During the first year of my master’s, I really wasn’t sure if I should continue to pursue music or try to find a different path in life, especially because I saw so many musicians struggling during COVID, which scared me about my future.

Then I was assigned to the first full orchestra cycle after COVID as a principal, and we played Brahms’ Symphony No. 3. During the performance, as we were playing the third movement, I realized how happy I was to be part of the orchestra playing this music. It was a feeling that I could never feel doing anything else. I will never forget that moment when I became so certain about what I want to do.