Music for Social Justice: Yvonne Lam, violin

Special video premiere presentation

Video interview and performance with violinist Yvonne Lam



Tradition, identity and the power of water flow through Yvonne Lam’s formidable performance of “Watch Over Us”. Written for Lam by her friend and colleague Nathalie Joachim, it is inspired by the documentary film “Two Gods” by Zeshawn Ali, that tells the story of Hanif, a casket maker and body washer of the Islamic tradition, and his mentorship of two young men, Furquan and Naz. The piece explores the duality of water with its ability to soothe and heal, but also destroy. This parallels the duality in identity felt by Lam and Joachim, both raised by immigrants in the US. Just as Lam and Joachim embrace this duality, they implore listeners to embrace their own identity boldly, noting that as classical music evolves and becomes more diverse, it is ever more important to play the music that reflects that diversity.

Yvonne Lam, an associate professor of violin at MSU and renowned performer and educator, is a top-tier soloist, chamber musician and professor. Along with Joachim, Lam is a former member of renowned chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird. She previously performed with groups such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Washington National Opera, and Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. She is sought after not only for her musicianship but for her dedication to teaching. In addition to her studio at MSU, Lam leads master classes and lectures at universities across the United States.

This performance is part of the Michigan State University College of Music video series, Music for Social Justice, an opportunity for MSU artists to express their thoughts and feelings on important social justice issues, doing so with their insightful, often moving comments and of course their art, the music. Nine episodes of the series have been filmed, premiering online August 12 through December 2, 2020. 

Watch the premiere of this presentation and share comments on the MSU College of Music YouTube channel.

The 2020–2021 Music for Social Justice video series is generously sponsored by the MSU Federal Credit Union

All videos in the MSU Music for Social Justice series have been filmed following safety guidelines and regulations as set forth by Michigan State University and the State of Michigan.

Filed under: