Meesun Hong Coleman 01
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Meesun Hong Coleman


Member since 2007


What was your most embarrassing moment on stage?

I was in the middle of a very difficult passage, playing The Soldier’s Tale at the Aldeburgh Festival – the kind of passage that Stravinsky loves, where he uses complicated and varied rhythmic patterns, the kind of spot where you just can‘t take your eyes off the music or you will be lost! I got to the top of the next page and suddenly everything just started to fall off the rails. Nothing was fitting together, and I was getting really cross with my colleagues. What the hell were they doing?? After what seemed like hours (it was probably about five seconds in reality), I realized that what was supposed to be my page 10 was page 14. With no other choice, I had to stop the performance. My colleagues looked shocked. Maybe even as shocked as I was. I turned to the audience and said, «My deepest apologies, but I seem to have lost page 10.» I waltzed off stage, and found it strewn across my dressing room floor. Ran back to the stage, and at that point, carried on and just had a good time, as I knew that the bubble of suspense had been burst! It was horribly embarrassing, but also liberating in a way. Afterwards, of course that’s all that the audience could talk about.

When and how did your path cross with CAMERATA BERN?

I came across CAMERATA BERN when I was working in the Zurich opera. I randomly jumped in for someone, and to be honest, it was a very strange gig in St. Moritz! But I loved the colleagues and I loved the concept (and immediately bought flatter shoes:)). When I started, I had no idea who Erich Höbarth was, and boy was I blown away. I immediately fell in love with him and with the ensemble. Over the years, what was more of a lucky convenience developed into one of the most important musical pillars of my life, and also one of the best ensembles I’ve ever played with. I learned first-hand and front row and centre from the greatest leaders how to direct and lead myself. I’ve met and played with so many incredible people – the members first and foremost. We have undergone so many challenges, and I’ve always appreciated how the ensemble embraces one another’s differences and always tries in some way to come together. Like a family, and that’s ultimately what CAMERATA BERN is for me.

What led you to become a musician?

My older sister was forced to play violin, and she was pretty lazy and as a result, relatively mediocre (sorry Frances, if you’re reading this, but let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?). I desperately wanted to play because she did (she was of course the coolest ever) but my parents didn’t want the fights they’d had with her. In any case, to show them that I was not just like my lazy sister, I practiced. And improved pretty quickly. Then one lucky thing led to another, and here I am! It helped massively that I had very supportive parents and the most wonderful Suzuki teacher, Carol Roosevelt, who instilled a sense of fun and love of music in me from the get-go, which I really believe has carried me throughout my musical education and life. Thanks Mom and Dad, and thanks Mrs. Roosevelt!

About Meesun Hong Coleman

A South Carolina native, Meesun graduated with a BA in composition from Princeton University and an MA in violin from Juilliard. After that, she went to Berlin as a Fulbright scholar.

Today, Meesun Hong Coleman is professor of violin and chamber music at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz, and concertmaster of the Kammerakademie Potsdam and the Haydn Philharmonie.

She regularly guest leads and directs the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra, and others. Festival appearances include Salzburg, Gstaad, Luzern, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Ojai, and Rheingau. She has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Suntory Hall, Vienna Musikverein, Beijing Performing Arts Center, and the Philharmonie Berlin. Meesun lives in Salzburg with her husband and two daughters.

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