Violist Rimbo Wong knows the stereotype — that classical music is for an exclusive audience — but, working with the Penn Memory Center, she hopes to shatter it.
The ArtistYear fellow from the Curtis Institute of Music is spending a year in service to the Philadelphia community with what she calls “Project Home.” She will bring classical music into the homes of Penn Memory Center patients who have Alzheimer’s disease or other types of cognitive impairments.
Curtis fellows work on a community-oriented fellowship dedicated to serving those in Philadelphia. The fellows contribute a range of ways, mostly focusing on how to bring music into the lives of people who would not typically have access to instruments and trained musicians.
Wong designs one-on-one experiences with her listeners so that her audience will have the best possible experience with the music she plays. A skilled musician, Wong is well practiced in evoking strong feelings from her listeners who can feel comforted or inspired, happy or sad, or just content while with her music.
Wong has a long history of loving and creating music. She wants her listeners to appreciate classical music as much as she does. “You can enjoy it however you want. What’s most important is the feeling,” she said. Her face brightens when she talks about classical music.
Music has always been a part of Wong’s life. She started playing piano when she was six years old, before turning to the viola. Her two older sisters play the cello and violin. Rimbo chose the viola because she finds it to be the most similar to the human voice.
Before coming to Philadelphia, Rimbo toured throughout China, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong and throughout Europe. She has performed on the global stage and now is committed to working locally to impact the neighborhood where she studies. “Playing in Philadelphia has been very inspiring. Many distinguished artists come through and I get to work with them through Curtis and it has been a very rewarding experience,” she said.
The free music sessions will be available on Tuesdays through the spring of 2017. To learn more about Wong or to request an appointment, please contact Deirdre MacFarlane at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 360-0254.
— by David Ney