Franz Chu


The violin touches my heart gently, which fills me up with positivity.

To my violin: How are you? I have only met you since my retirement, but I’m glad I met you. With your accompaniment, I believe my life will go further than I would.


As a schoolboy, I was charmed by the guitar. I used to play and sing with my classmates, yet once I start working, the busy life made music part of the "good old days". The only bond left between me and music was going to concert after work and taking part in the church's choir. In 2012, I spent my vacation in Taipei. Along the riverside I came across a violinist playing the classical The Four Seasons Winter. I was intoxicated by the beautiful melody under the setting sun. This was the moment that inspired me to restart the pursuit of my music dream that had been set aside for 30 years.


The melody of the violin lingers in me even after returning to Hong Kong, so I decided to take the beginner’s class. Everyone in the class was younger than me, but I believed that music is not limited by age. I practiced two to three hours every night without feeling exhausted. Violin is small in size, yet it is capable of expressing complicated emotions that no word can describe. Despair, excitement, joy, no matter how intense these emotions are, I can always express them accurately through the violin. In depressing moments, the violin always touches my heart gently and fills me up once again with positivity.

A few years later, I officially retired from my routine life of work. It took me some time to adapt, but playing the violin helped a lot. I learned playing the violin discontinuously, on my own most of the times, but I enjoyed it. Last year, my wife came across the recruitment notice of E Major Ensemble and encouraged me to go for the audition. Since then, I set sail for a whole new music journey.


I remember my audition was a frightening, careful one, where I tried all my best to avoid any mistakes. When I knew I was admitted, I was happy on one hand, but was worried on the other – happy for receiving affirmation for my ability, but worried that I could not catch up with the standards of playing in an orchestra. The audition was only the first hurdle, where passing it means I am capable, but it does not necessarily means I am playing it well. However, after I started playing with the ensemble, I knew that I had worried in vain. The conductor is very patient and considerate. He understands the difficulties of the late starters such as myself, and always offers detailed advice for us to improve. Whenever a performance approaches, he spends extra time doing sectional practice. I have learned a lot from the conductor. As for our violin section, the more senior members always generously teach us skills and encouraging us. We grow together in terms of skills and performanceship, where our friendship as well grow stronger.

I used to work in the field of information technology. One might wonder how a rational person working in such field would fall in love with the emotional music? Bear in mind even Albert Einstein, the greatest physicist in history, was an amateur violinist. Music amazes me, for it is not limited by time and space. I have always enjoyed Bach’s music, even before I knew how to play the violin. Now I get to play his music on the violin, it feels completely different from just listening to it. It feels like I have traveled 200 years back in time and Bach was there with me. I forget about time, space, race and age and was completely emerged in the wonder of music. Isn't that magical?


Joining the E Major Ensemble makes playing the violin more than just a hobby. I have to practice seriously with all my heart for the performances. Every day after I finish practicing, I clean the violin and place it back in the cabinet with care before going to sleep. I treat the violin as an intimate companion. Yet I believe my wife would not envy the violin, because she always says I am happier ever since I started playing the violin.