Trista Wong is a proud proponent for the ability of music to change lives for the better. We’ve all been moved by a particular song that overtook us as we listened but Ms. Wong has made music a centerpiece of her life. For the past few years Trista has not only held the prestigious position of Section Second Violin for the Phoenix Symphony under the direction of Music Director Tito Munoz (also known for his work with such esteemed organizations as the Joffrey Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, and others) but has also been involved in the ensembles numerous outreach programs that seek the goal of contributing to the well-being of the community.
From performing in the classroom to inspire younger generations to soothing those in hospice with her talent, Trista displays that when one uses their gifts in an altruistic manner all involved parties benefit in some manner. Her contributions are also a testimony to the multifaceted importance that music and the Arts in general have within our society and why they must be preserved.
The spark that ignites an artistic mind begins at an early age. To ensure that future generations of artists find the inspiration that will set them on a journey, Trista takes part in the “Symphony for the Schools” program. This signature program of the Phoenix Symphony, provides K-12 public, private, charter, parochial, and home school groups an opportunity to attend a world-class concert at Symphony Hall. Presented by American Airlines, these concerts occur during the school day and align with Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards, helping students connect the exciting world of music to their studies.
Presenting such beloved pieces as Peter and the Wolf by Sergey Prokofiev and others, young audiences are exposed to the magic that emerges from the mastery of a variety of musical instruments and great composers of the ages.
Ms. Wong has participated in six such performances at the Symphony Hall in Phoenix in the early part of January and remarks, “The thing I enjoyed the most is the fact that I am contributing and making an impact in the music education. I am part of the team teaching the younger generation about the power the music. I am very happy to see that students enjoy these types of concerts and that they want to know more about orchestra after watching us perform for them.”
Her dedication to exposing young audiences to the joy of music has led Trista to Phoenix Symphony’s “Classroom Concerts” which places talented artists directly in the classroom in a direct outreach to those who might otherwise never experience such an event. These performances allowed intimate access to performers like Trista, placing them within mere feet of them as the music is created. Even more so, some students were allowed the opportunity to conduct the ensembles in order to feel the excitement of being an active member in the creation of these performances.
One of the most powerful experiences for Trista has been her inclusion in the “B-Sharp Music Wellness, a W.O.N.D.E.R. Project” which promotes physical, mental, and social wellness through the healing power of music. Through this entity, Trista has performed as part of chamber concerts for patients at places such as Banner University Medical Center. The calming benefits of music for medical patients has been proven in countless studies. These concerts have also been performed for first responders during the pandemic.
Trista notes that the beneficial effects were experienced by both performers and the audience stating, “In my opinion, music is a great way of expressing my own emotions. When I play the violin, I always put my emotions in it, whether I am feeling sad, anxious, angry, happy or excited. This is why music may sound different every day because we are human and we feel things differently every day.
This is also why music is great as it sounds different to different people at different time. I feel more at ease after expressing my emotions by playing the violin, or even just by listening to music I love. This is a fascinating experience as I feel like I am talking to myself through my own music.”
Artists like Trista Wong are the very opposite of someone who considers themselves superior and set apart from the public. Trista’s aspiration to attain the highest level of musicianship is in fact a contribution to so many others, as evidenced by her participation in the groups mentioned previously. The creative arts are an essential part of society prospering and seeking a more harmonious state for all; Ms. Wong spends her life as an ally to this goal.
Writer: Coleman Haan