Get to know the Grossman Ensemble: MingHuan Xu, violin

MingHuan Xu in Grossman Ensemble rehearsal

This year at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition, we're introducing (or re-introducing) you to members of our resident ensemble, the Grossman Ensemble. Today, we're sharing more about violinist MingHuan Xu. Continue reading to learn what her favorite moments in the Grossman Ensemble have been, what dishes she likes to cook, and more.

What do you enjoy about playing contemporary music?

I enjoy exploring new ideas and sounds that are relevant to this age we are living in.  I also really feel artistically satisfied getting to engage with composers, ask them questions, receive their feedback, and see their reactions.

What has been your most memorable moment from your time in the Grossman Ensemble so far?

Seeing how each composition develops over time has been a real delight.  In particular, I really enjoyed seeing how much Daniel Pesca's piece grew, with a performance that was so electrifying.

MingHuan Xu headshot

You’ve said that you really enjoy cooking. What are some of your favorite dishes to make?

I enjoy cooking a variety of baked salmon dishes.

If the violin was a culinary dish, what would it be?

Playing the violin reminds me of consuming a multi-course meal rich with flavors, colors and contrasts.

What do you like to do in your time away from your instrument?

I enjoy spending precious time with my kids and family exploring every corner of Chicago, also taking walks in nature.

What musical artists and genres do you enjoy listening to? 

I love listening to jazz, especially the oldies, with my favorite artists being Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan. and Louis Armstrong.

What has being in the Grossman Ensemble meant to you?

Being in the Grossman Ensemble has put such a unique spotlight on the composers.  It has been such an innovative idea, to get an ensemble of such top-notch professional musicians working carefully with the composers from an early stage of the work. I've learned so much from my peers as well as my interactions with the large variety of excellent composers. and conductors.  Gusty's outstanding leadership, vision, care and support for the musicians has been truly inspiring.