BM, MS, National Taiwan Normal University (Taiwan); DMA, Eastman School of Music
Praised as being “extremely musical” and “having the gift to keep the orchestra tight with her hands”, Taiwan native Yunn-Shan Ma is active as a conductor, pianist and educator in both America and Asia. Her range of conducting experience bridges the gap between professional, semi-professional, and student ensembles. Ma moved to the United States in 2011 with a full scholarship and recently earned her doctoral degree in conducting at the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of William Weiner and Neil Varon.
With a passion for symphonic, operatic, choral-orchestral and contemporary repertoire, Ma has been selected over the years to participate in competitions and master classes mentored by Helmuth Rilling, Mark Gibson, Donald Hunsberger, Johannes Schlaefli, Robert Page, Joseph Flummerfelt, Maurice Peress, and Donald Portney. She has conducted select performances with Cadaques Orchestra in Spain, North Czech Orchestra in Teplice, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, Greater Rochester Women’s Philharmonic, Evergreen Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Philharmonic Chorus, Taipei Chamber Singers, Eastman-Rochester Chorus, Eastman Chorale, and Eastman’s New Music Ensemble, OSSIA. In July 2013 she was selected as one of five finalists to guest-conduct the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2015 she premiered Britten’s cantata Phaedra for mezzo-soprano solo and orchestra at Eastman Kilbourn Hall in February and guest conducted the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble in March. In summer 2015 she was invited to hold a workshop for the ensemble of Ying-Hua College from Hong Kong on their tour visit at Eastman School of Music. She guest-conducted the Chin-Yun Choir and Taipei Civic Orchestra at the National Concert Hall in Taipei in July 2016 and the Monroe All-County Senior High School Orchestra at Kodak Hall, Eastman School of Music, in March 2018. She has been on the faculty of the Taipei International Choral Festival since 2015.
In addition to being an active conductor, pianist, and singer, Ma has devoted herself to musical education. She has frequently served as a guest clinician as well as an adjudicator for competitions and festivals. As the 2005 winner of the Taipei Municipal Joint Teacher Search Auditions from more than 250 candidates, she was appointed a full-time music instructor at Taipei Municipal Zhong-Zheng Junior High School and served on the jury committee in 2006. Ma has been invited to give lectures on conducting and music appreciation at Shi-Hsin and Cheng-Chi universities. Besides, she is a co-author for the cross-curriculum teaching manual, “Music and the Ocean”, published by the Taiwan Ministry of Education in 2011.
Ma received her early musical training in piano and violin at the age of five. At the age of eleven, she moved to Vienna with her family and won the audition to study piano and violin at the pre-college of the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien. After returning to Taiwan, she received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance with minors in violin and vocal performances, as well as a master’s degree in conducting from National Taiwan Normal University.
During her doctoral study at the Eastman School of Music, Ma assisted Eastman Opera, served as an assistant conductor of the choral ensembles, and taught a lab for the Basic Conducting course. Before joining the RIT, she was under the faculty of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Nazareth College. She is music director of the Taiwanese Choral Society of Rochester, the conducting fellow of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the founder/artistic director of F-Sharp Chamber Choir in Taipei.