Yvonne Lam will join MSU Music faculty

Violinist, collaborator and educator of Eighth Blackbird fame becomes a Spartan.

Violinist Yvonne Lam will join the MSU Music faculty as assistant professor in fall 2019. (Photo credit: StephanieBassos-dot-com)
Yvonne Lam and Lisa Kaplan, piano, performed at MSU in April as part of Eighth Blackbird, the inaugural artist in the college's Entrepreneurial Musical Artist in Residence program funded by MSUFCU. (Photo credit: Harley Seeley)
Yvonne Lam will bring to the college extensive performance experience and education leadership such as co-founding the Blackbird Creative Lab, an intensive tuition-free training program for performers and composers. (Photo credit: StephanieBassos-dot-com)

The Michigan State University College of Music is pleased to announce that renowned violinist Yvonne Lam will become the newest member of the String Area faculty. The Grammy-winning musician of Eighth Blackbird fame will become a full-time assistant professor at the college this fall.

A leader in chamber music and a champion of new music, Lam brings significant experience as a soloist, orchestral musician, entrepreneur, and collaborator. She will bring demonstrated strength to a distinguished string area.

Lam has performed 50 concerts a year internationally with Eighth Blackbird and with orchestras in Philadelphia, Melbourne, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Tasmania. She has served as a co-artistic director of Eighth Blackbird, a groundbreaking ensemble known for combining vibrant contemporary classical music with business and entrepreneurship education. She recorded three albums with Eighth Blackbird, including the Grammy-winning album Filament.

“My colleagues and I welcome Yvonne to our string department and look forward to fruitful collaborations in the future. She is a wonderful violinist and versatile musician,” said Suren Bagratuni, professor of cello and chair of the String Area at MSU.

Lam was with Eighth Blackbird earlier this year when it was featured as the inaugural artist in the college’s Entrepreneurial Musical Artist in Residence program funded by the MSU Federal Credit Union. With the MSU College of Music’s focus on cultivating entrepreneurial skills, Lam’s addition to the faculty will benefit music students greatly. In 2017, for example, she co-founded the Blackbird Creative Lab, an intensive tuition-free training program in Ojai, California for performers and composers. Its goals are to inspire future generations of artists, champion new work and engage audiences with dynamic performance.

“The wealth of experience Yvonne brings from Eighth Blackbird and her work with the Creative Lab will be an asset to current and future strings performers and other students,” said Christine Beamer, director of Career Services and Music Entrepreneurship. “As a gifted teacher, dynamic performer, and innovative entrepreneur, Yvonne will provide new perspectives, facilitate new connections, and open new artistic opportunities at MSU. I’m looking forward to collaborating with her on entrepreneurial and artistic initiatives.”

Prior to Eighth Blackbird, Lam was assistant concertmaster of the Washington National Opera Orchestra for three seasons and associate concertmaster of the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. She is an experienced soloist with renowned orchestras and the winner of multiple competition prizes.

“Yvonne Lam is a superb and versatile musician and educator,” said James Forger, dean of the College of Music at MSU. “The students, faculty and staff are looking forward to welcoming her to our musical community in the fall.”

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