Sirena Huang

An 11-year-old's magical violin

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0:12

(Music)

8:24

(Music ends)

8:25

(Applause)

8:43

(Applause ends)

8:44

Hi, everyone. I'm Sirena. I'm 11 years old and from Connecticut. (Audience cheers)

8:52

(Applause)

8:56

Well, I'm not really sure why I'm here.

9:01

(Laughter)

9:03

I mean, what does this have to do with technology, entertainment and design? Well, I count my iPod, cellphone and computer as technology, but this has nothing to do with that.

9:17

So I did a little research on it. Well, this is what I found. Of course, I hope I can memorize it.

9:24

(Clears throat)

9:26

The violin is made of a wood box and four metal strings. By pulling a string, it vibrates and produces a sound wave, which passes through a piece of wood called a bridge, and goes down to the wood box and gets amplified, but ... let me think.

9:37

(Laughter)

9:41

Placing your finger at different places on the fingerboard changes the string length, and that changes the frequency of the sound wave. (Sighs) Oh, my gosh!

9:49

(Laughter)

9:51

OK, this is sort of technology, but I can call it a 16th-century technology. But actually, the most fascinating thing that I found was that even the audio system or wave transmission nowadays are still based on the same principle of producing and projecting sound. Isn't that cool?

10:14

(Laughter)

10:18

(Applause)

10:24

Design — I love its design. I remember when I was little, my mom asked me, "Would you like to play the violin or the piano?" I looked at that giant monster and said to myself — "I am not going to lock myself on that bench the whole day!"

10:42

(Laughter)

10:43

This is small and lightweight. I can play from standing, sitting or walking. And, you know what? The best of all is that if I don't want to practice, (Whispering) I can hide it.

10:55

(Laughter)

11:00

The violin is very beautiful. Some people relate it as the shape of a lady. But whether you like it or not, it's been so for more than 400 years, unlike modern stuff [that] easily looks dated. But I think it's very personal and unique that, although each violin looks pretty similar, no two violins sound the same — even from the same maker or based on the same model.

11:25

Entertainment — I love the entertainment. But actually, the instrument itself isn't very entertaining. I mean, when I first got my violin and tried to play around on it, it was actually really bad, because it didn't sound the way I'd heard from other kids — it was so horrible and so scratchy. So, it wasn't entertaining at all. But besides, my brother found this very funny: Yuk! Yuk! Yuk!

11:59

(Laughter)

12:06

A few years later, I heard a joke about the greatest violinist, Jascha Heifetz. After Mr. Heifetz's concert, a lady came over and complimented him: "Oh, Mr. Heifetz, your violin sounded so great tonight!" And Mr. Heifetz was a very cool person, so he picked up his violin and said, "Funny — I don't hear anything."

12:23

(Laughter)

12:26

Now I realize that as the musician, we human beings, with our great mind, artistic heart and skill, can change this 16th-century technology and a legendary design to a wonderful entertainment. Now I know why I'm here.

12:44

(Music)

16:17

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16:21

(Applause)

16:30

At first, I thought I was just going to be here to perform, but unexpectedly, I learned and enjoyed much more. But ... although some of the talks were quite up there for me.

16:44

(Laughter)

16:48

Like the multi-dimension stuff. I mean, honestly, I'd be happy enough if I could actually get my two dimensions correct in school.

16:58

(Laughter)

17:01

But actually, the most impressive thing to me is that — well, actually, I would also like to say this for all children is to say thank you to all adults, for actually caring for us a lot, and to make our future world much better. Thank you.

17:19

(Applause)

17:29

(Music)

22:16

(Music ends)

22:19

(Applause)

22:43

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22:46

(Music)

24:26

(Music ends)

24:30

(Applause)

Violinist Sirena Huang gives a technically brilliant and emotionally nuanced performance. In a charming interlude, the 11-year-old praises the timeless design of her instrument.

About the speaker
Sirena Huang · Violinist

Sirena Huang started taking violin lessons at age 4 and made her professional solo debut at 9 with the Taiwan Symphony Orchestra. She has won top prizes in numerous international competitions, delighting audiences worldwide with her virtuosity and charm.

Sirena Huang started taking violin lessons at age 4 and made her professional solo debut at 9 with the Taiwan Symphony Orchestra. She has won top prizes in numerous international competitions, delighting audiences worldwide with her virtuosity and charm.