Ignace “Iggy” Jang

Photo from Elyse Butler

Photo from Elyse Butler

Ignace “Iggy” Jang’s musical career began at an age when most can only dream of what to become when they grow up.

Inspired by recordings his mother would play, Jang began his violin studies at the tender of age 5 when his parents started to rent out a violin from their local music shop, it would basically be the equivalent of visiting somewhere similar to Stradviolin.com or elsewhere on the internet to look at different string instruments to rent.

“It’s been a long journey, and as I get older, what I enjoy about it is that I feel that I can still learn from playing the violin,” he says. “If you do it right, then you can hopefully communicate without using words – and that’s, I think, ultimately what I would like to achieve.”

Concertmaster for Hawaii Symphony Orchestra (HSO), and before that Honolulu Symphony since 1997, Jang, whose parents are from Korea, was born and raised in France. Though he’s since lived and worked in a variety of places, it’s Hawaii’s interactive diversity that he says is unique and something he continues to enjoy.

He says he finds it difficult to describe what his job entails as HSO’s concertmaster, explaining that his years of experience allow him to rely on body language and instinct.

“(I’m) just trying, in my own way, to make the orchestra more unified, I guess, as one voice,” he explains.

This Sunday, HSO features Jang as a violin soloist along with guest conductor Gerard Schwarz at Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall. A “concert conversations” session, hosted by University of Hawaii West Oahu assistant professor of music Jon Magnussen, is slated for 3 p.m. before the concert, which begins at 4.

And since it’s taking place Mother’s Day, HSO will offer a free lei to the first 100 mothers who walk through the doors.

The program will open with Jang performing Mozart’s Symphony No. 39, which he describes as a soulful and in-depth piece. He then will perform Mozart’s Adagio for Violin and Orchestra, and Paganini’s La Campanella alongside HSO.

“People can look forward to hopefully being seduced by the first piece and mesmerized by the second half,” he says.

When he isn’t performing, Jang can be found teaching aspiring musicians. In addition to being on the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Music Department faculty, Jang offers private lessons to high school students. This summer, he also is involved with Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, a camp open to children of all ages.

“I think you just try to pass on whatever legacy your own teacher passed on to you,” he says.

For tickets to Jang’s performance and more information, call 593-2468 or visit hawaiisymphonyorchestra.org.