Stella Cha (12) to pursue viola at UPenn

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Katie Beckler, Contributing Writer

At the University of Pennsylvania, where she will attend college, Stella Cha (12) plans to explore topics such as music history, music production, and the effects music has on different cultures. “I’m so excited to be going to a school with so many resources for learning and exploring music,” she said. “I’m excited to form relationships and meet people who can teach me more about subject areas I’m interested in and introduce me to potential figures who can guide me in the music industry.”

When Cha began taking violin lessons at age five, she detested the amount of time and energy it took to play an instrument well, she said. “Playing any instrument is such a time and energy consuming activity, and if you plan on being serious about an instrument you need a deep level of dedication to it.”

Years later, Cha would return home from school in eighth grade to practice for her Juilliard pre-college programs, sit down, and practice the violin for five to seven hours. “Naturally, I grew a pretty strong dislike towards the violin.”

At the age of 13, she switched from playing the violin to the viola, which reignited her passion for music, she said. “I loved the deep and rich register of the viola.” Her favorite pieces to play include the Clarke Sonata for Viola and Piano, Hindemith Viola Sonata Op. 11 No. 4, and Monti Czardas. 

In 11th grade, Cha decided that she wanted to pursue music in college. “I didn’t want to give up all those years of my life so carelessly just because I didn’t like practicing, because there were so many more parts of the music world to explore aside from the routine practice and performing side,” she said.

“The reason why I have a much better relationship with music now than before is because I don’t feel like I am being forced to practice hours on end,” Cha said. “Performing now feels more like an exciting experience rather than a chore.”