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Artist of the Issue: Emily Feng
Kaitlyn Xia '24 Staff Writer
November 2, 2021

A lifelong violin player, now viola player, Emily Feng ’22 started her music career at the age of five. Throughout her time at Deerfield, she has contributed to the Chamber program with her skill, humility, and passion for her instrument. 

At the beginning of her Deerfield career, Emily made the switch from playing the violin to the viola. Regarding this decision, Director of Music Thomas Bergeron commented, “The viola, though it is one of the most versatile and beautiful string instruments, is less frequently featured as a soloist. Despite knowing this, Emily switched to this instrument in 9th grade because she was drawn to the beauty of its sound. Since then, she has developed a powerfully expressive voice through the instrument.”

Credit: Ellie Nam

Feng explained that, despite playing the violin for so many years, the tone of the instrument was not what she was looking for. She was attracted by the richness of the viola’s sound, and the transition was easier than she thought it would be, and said, “The main thing was learning how to approach the instrument in a different way”.

Former Orchestra member Jean Jin ’22 said that one of the most impressive things about Emily as a musician is her improvement with the viola since her freshman year at Deerfield. Jin said, “Most people tend to fall off track with their music while at boarding school, which isn’t the case for Emily.”

Indeed, Feng shared that she attended an intensive music program over the summer of 2021 which pushed her to look at music in a different way. She said, “Coming from somewhere where people think of playing an instrument like a chore, it was really inspiring to be with people who not only have different perspectives, but also who love what they do.” 

Feng spent most of the camp preparing pieces for conservatory auditions, and she recently finished recording her pieces for pre-screening auditions. 

Emily’s tireless dedication and maturity as a musician have led to her growth as a violist and leader of the Chamber program. Going forward, she said, “I’m hoping to keep music as a big part of my life. It’s a really valuable skill to have, and it’s almost like another language.” 

Mr. Bergeron said,“The sky’s the limit for Emily’s musical career. Her work ethic and passion for music has already made her one of the top musicians applying to colleges and conservatories.”

Regardless of where Emily’s future in music takes her, her impact on the Deerfield music program will be valued by future generations of students to come.