• Ensemble ACJW: Meet Jennifer, Siwoo, and James

    Starting today, Ensemble ACJW will be introducing new 2014–2016 fellows every Friday. Out of the 18 new fellows, today we'd like to introduce Jenny Ney, Siwoo Kim, and James Riggs.

    Read about where they're from, their musical heroes, and their pre-concert rituals.

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    Jenny Ney, French Horn

    Jenny Ney is an active performer and teacher in the New York area who has appeared in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Alice Tully. She is also on the teaching artist faculty of the New York Philharmonic’s School Partnership Program, which brings orchestral music into the lives of elementary school students throughout the five boroughs. Jenny lives in Manhattan and spends her free time with her husband Jon and their adorable dog. 

    Where is your hometown?
    Suffield, Connecticut

    If you weren’t a musician, what would you want to do professionally?
    I'd like to be an interior decorator. I don't think I could stand a job where I go to the same place and do the same thing everyday. And I'd get to see inside everyone's houses!

    What is your most prized possession?
    I'm trying to think of something I couldn't live without, and there are only two things that come to mind: my horn (an obvious choice) and my dog. Also my husband, but I don't think he counts as a possession!

    Who is your musical hero (dead or alive)?
    My musical hero is Julie Landsman. I studied with her at Juilliard and her teaching completely changed how I view my playing and myself. She's such an inspiration as a female horn player who really reached the top of the profession.

    Any other fun facts you’d like to share?
    For about seven years, I lived in a barn! We lived in the upper floor, which was renovated into living space. The bottom floor housed our pet pony. Other pets at the time included three cats, a dog, a guinea pig, and two tadpoles!


    Siwoo Kim, Violin

    Violinist Siwoo Kim recently gave the world premiere of Samuel Adler’s first violin concerto and made his debut at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. He graduated from The Juilliard School, where he led the Juilliard Orchestra as concertmaster and made his concerto debut with them at Carnegie Hall. 

    ACJW Siwoo Kim 300x300

    If you weren’t a musician, what would you want to do professionally?
    Off the top of my head, a photojournalist. How they strive for honesty in expression is very attractive to me. Plus, I would get to see the world and have the luxury of seeing many things that people nowadays take for granted.

    What is your favorite place to visit?
    My home in Ohio. I love New York City and I really enjoy seeing new places. At the end of the day, however, going back home to see my family and hometown friends is just the best. The calmer atmosphere combined with clean, fresh air rejuvenates me more than any amount of coffee or yoga can!

    What is the best musical advice you ever received?
    I've had the privilege of hearing a myriad of priceless words of wisdom during my student years. Perhaps the most all-encompassing advice I received was from my private teacher, Robert Mann: "Siwoo, make your performance worthwhile; don't waste your time or the audience's time." So true!

    Do you have a pre-concert ritual?
    I like to stretch and do some jumping jacks. Goofing off and having some coffee gets me pumped, too!

    Any other fun facts you’d like to share?
    I have some fun facts from my high school years. My parents drove me to Evanston, Illinois, from Columbus, Ohio, every other weekend for my violin lessons. Thank goodness I'm an only child! I played with my high school jazz band, played for theater, and played with a band on electric violin. I also somehow managed to walk away with the title of prom king! Hilarious.

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    James Riggs, Oboe

    James Riggs is the newly appointed principal oboist of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. He is also a member of the Grammy Award–nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire. As a soloist, James has frequently performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group in New York, and played concertos of Handel, Bellini, and Bach with several ensembles in Tampa Bay. He recently earned his master’s degree from The Juilliard School and his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory. He dedicates his free time to studying chess, training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and professional 10-pin bowling instruction.

    Where is your hometown?
    Tampa Bay, Florida 

    If you weren’t a musician, what would you want to do professionally?
    I think I could be really happy doing a lot of different things, but maybe I would study world religions, anthropology, or archaeology. I find other cultures—present and past—to be fascinating. And of course, I couldn’t rule out trying to become an astronaut either, that would be awesome!

    What is the best musical advice you ever received?
    I’ve received so much great advice over my years of study that it’s hard to pick just one thing, but perhaps the most important advice could be boiled down to this: Always strive to make your interpretation so convincing that others cannot argue with it even if they disagree with it.

    What do you like to do when you’re not playing music?
    I like playing and studying chess, training Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and reading a good book!

    What artists or songs (not classical) are you currently listening to?
    I think it’s important for classical musicians (all musicians, for that matter) to listen to many different kinds of music: jazz, rock, folk, hip hop, country, world music, etc.—as many different genres as possible. Right now, I’m listening to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Sam Cooke.