... The mixture of ancient Chinese symbols and modern American rock illustrate Yang’s uniqueness: he’s a rock guitarist and self-proclaimed Asian cowboy, a fan of barbeque, high school football and all things Texan, but also a lover of Mozart and Brahms, a violin virtuoso thriving in America’s most elite conservatory. While this rare blend of elements might seem contradictory, it’s actually the key to his exuberant personality. His versatility isn’t a shortcoming; it’s his chief attraction.
Yang’s exposure to classical music began in the womb—his mother played for the Austin Symphony—but his love for it was not congenital. “I hated it,” he says of his first few years. “I was 3-years-old when my mom shoved a violin in my hands, you know, it’s like the Asian rule, and I remember hating it and thinking, ‘Man, it doesn’t even sound good.’”
At his first recital, when he was 4, he turned and faced a corner while he played. “My ass was facing the audience the whole time,” Yang says. To get him to practice, his parents would bribe him with M&Ms. Even so, it was a struggle: “Past 30 minutes I’d always cry and shout, ‘Why do I have to do more?’”
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