Violinist Natalie Lin Douglas is Young Texas Artists’ 2009 Gold Medalist in Strings and Audience Choice Award winner. She recently shared an update on her career with us.
It’s been more than 12 years since you won Young Texas Artists’ Gold Medal for Strings and the Audience Choice Award. How would you say your experience with YTA has impacted you and your music career?
YTA was a really wonderful opportunity for me to participate in a local competition at a very high level. I was a student at the University of Houston at the time, and later, I went on to compete at other national and international competitions. Having that experience at YTA helped prepare me for the other competitive experiences later on, and it also provided a friendly, supportive, and welcoming environment to do so.
What have you been up to since then?
After YTA, I went on to complete my bachelor’s and Master of Music degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music, then returned to Houston in 2013 to complete my Doctor of Musical Arts at Rice University. I competed at the Klein International Strings Competition in 2012, placing fourth, and the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, placing sixth. In 2015, I founded Kinetic, a conductor-less string ensemble of 16 musicians that serves to amplify diverse, under-represented, newly composed classical music to communities in and beyond Houston.
Since 2020, I have also been an assistant professor of music at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I teach chamber music and advanced performance studies.
What have been some of the more memorable moments of your music career so far? Why were they meaningful to you?
Performing with Kinetic is always meaningful for me. Everyone in the ensemble is passionate about music, and many of us have known each other for years, so it always feels like a reunion when we get together. What I love is that there is a shared drive to work hard,
perform with excellence, and have fun.
What are your goals from here?
At the moment, I’m based in Boston, teaching at MIT, and I travel frequently to Houston for performances with Kinetic. I’m currently working on a couple of CD projects — one with Kinetic, and one as a solo project. Besides this, I’m always open to any unexpected opportunities that come up.
Please tell us what you enjoy doing for fun or to relax. Do you have any hobbies?
A couple of years ago, I bought a sewing machine and started learning to make my own clothes. I’ve learned a lot about textiles and the craft of sewing. Whenever I have free time, I’m working on a new sewing project.
Please tell us about your musical tastes. Have they changed over the years? How?
I’ve always been intrigued about music that doesn’t often get heard, and that intrigue rolled over into my work with Kinetic. While that interest has always been there, following that interest means I’m always discovering new pieces and composers, and so I’m constantly learning something new.
What advice would you offer young artists who are just starting their music careers?
I would advise young artists to pay attention to what they’re passionate about — things both within and outside of music. There are many people out there making music their career, but what makes each of us unique are the specific interests and passions we possess. Those, in turn, will inform the directions and opportunities we choose to take in the future.