Artist of the Issue: Angela Choi ’21


Angela Choi

Choi performs in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Angela Choi ’21 is a four-year senior, violinist, concertmaster of the Hotchkiss Orchestra, and student at Juilliard Pre-College. Outside the classroom, she is a co-head of Songs for Smiles, board member of Students for Environmental Action, and proctor in Flinn dormitory.

How has the school influenced your growth as a musician?

Our community is exceptionally supportive. In my first concert at Hotchkiss, my teachers, my friends, and guests from outside the school came to watch. Seeing everyone together and genuinely enjoying the performance made playing music a lot more meaningful to me.

What challenges have you faced with music?

With Hotchkiss being a very academically rigorous school, finding what to prioritize — whether it’s socializing, clubs, or sports — is challenging. 

In my Lower Mid fall, I had violin competitions coming up, but I also wanted to play Field Hockey and try out for the musical. I ended up committing to both, but in retrospect, I know that I didn’t make enough time for violin. It’s definitely a learning curve and hard to balance all of my interests, especially because music takes a lot of time. Spending time with music can be lonely for me sometimes, but it feels better with other people in the music wing.

What’s a memorable moment you’ve had playing the violin?

Performing at Carnegie Hall my Prep year. From backstage hangouts to 2 a.m. bus rides, performing in the Weill Recital Hall helped me find my two closest friends, Michael Zhang ’21 and Victoria Chen ’21 two beautiful, goofy individuals who are also ridiculously talented pianists. They inspire me. I hope to keep our friendships for the rest of my life.

Who has had an impact on your music career?

Mr. John Humphrey ’67. He never missed a single instrumental recital. He lives 2-3 hours away from the school, yet he always comes to support Hotchkiss students. After my first recital here, he came up to me and said congratulations, and four years later, he’s still in contact with me. He sends me cool New York Times articles and loves my playing so much, which really helps me enjoy it too. 

What are some of your goals for the future?

Everyone asks me whether I want to pursue music in the future, and right now I’m at a crossroads between attending a conservatory or an academic university. Ultimately, I do want to attend an academic university because of my other interests, such as environmental science. However, a lot of schools I’m looking into also have strong music programs that I can participate in, whether it’s with a double major or a minor. Music will definitely be a part of my life in the future, as there are so many more pieces I want to learn and things I want to improve on. I’m so far from being “good enough,” so I will definitely continue violin in some shape or form!

Any advice for new musicians?

Firstly, I’m so proud of you for learning an instrument. It’s hard! Keep going. You got this! (Also, remember to practice your scales…with a metronome!) Have a practice buddy in the room next to you if you hate practicing alone. Reach out to me for anything! I’m always happy to help. Don’t be afraid to perform. As Mr. Fabio Witkowski, instructor in piano, always tells me, “Let’s go have fun.”

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and concision.