Off the Clock: Professor Promotes Music in Asian American Community

Posted: November 25, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Mira Yang
Mira Yang
Photo courtesy of Mira Yang

Mira Yang developed a passion for music at a very young age, and she now promotes music to all ages as president of the Asian American Music Society (AAMS).

Yang, an accomplished opera singer in four languages and professor of voice and musical theater in the Music Department, has performed in countries all over the world.

But closer to home, Yang has served as AAMS president for almost 12 years. The organization was founded in 1989 and is dedicated to the continued appreciation of all music. Members of AAMS believe that all cultures bring their own unique flavor to the world of music and display that diversity through concerts, workshops, galas and other events throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

As president, Yang is responsible for organizing and preparing the member musicians for various festivals and competitions. Some of these events include the Bethesda Summer Music Festival, the Asian Chamber Music Festival and the Woodwind, Piano, String and Voice International Competition.

“I’ve been involved with the AAMS for many years, and I never get tired of working with the members and teaching them how to make music, especially the children,” says Yang. “It’s more important to me that they learn about the importance of music than getting the notes right every time.”

She adds, “A lot of the music in our performances has an Asian background, and I believe that this is important to not only educate the members of AAMS about traditional Asian culture, but also our audiences.”

Yang serves as artistic director for the Bethesda Summer Music Festival. This festival, held every year, is a two-week intensive workshop for young professionals and college and high school students. The festival offers its participants private lessons, coaching, improvisation classes, health and pedagogy seminars and a variety of master classes.

Yang also organizes AAMS’s International Competition for elementary, middle and high school students and helps participants prepare two contrasting pieces of repertoire for woodwinds, piano and string instruments. Competition winners perform in a Winner’s Concert at the Kennedy Center.

Yang received an MM from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and a DMA from the Catholic University of America. In addition to opera and musical theater, she specializes in body movement and the importance of learning the correct way to perform.

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