Orange County National Taiwan University Alumni Chamber Ensemble (NTUACE) was formed in 1994 by Dr. Ming Wu (clarinet), Dr. Peter Chang (violin) and Dr. John Hung (piano). They were graduates from National Taiwan University (Ming in zoölogy, Peter in agricultural chemistry, John in chemistry) and so the group was named. Later in year 2000, Ms. Esther Chen joined the group. She was also a graduate from NTU (in psychology). Esther obtained a Master degree in music from U.C. Irvine and has been active in music education for many years in Taiwan and US. She taught both piano and violin lessons at Irvine. In 2004, I arranged a string quartet for a wedding party. Esther’s sons Samuel (violin) and Isaac (cello) played in the quartet. Then Esther introduced me to the group. In 2007, Dr. Rick Wu (clarinet) and Grace Wu (flute) joined the group. Rick graduated from NTU medical school. Grace graduated from Taipei Conservatory and was the lead flutist in Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
From the start, the group rehearsed weekly in Ming’s home. Etta, Ming’s wife always prepares snacks, fruits and tea for the after rehearsal chats. In February 2008, Ming got very sick, hospitalized and passed-away. While preparing the funeral music, my younger brother called me to tell me that my father has been admitted to the hospital intensive-care unit. I flew back to Taiwan immediately after Ming’s funeral and stayed one week with my father along with my younger brother and sister. My father finally passed-away. I was totally devastated because the lost of my father and Ming in about the same time. The group continued the meeting at my home and the music practice comforted me greatly.
The group historically hosts an annual recital of remembrance & thanksgiving to serve the community. The annual recital provided an opportunity for the students to perform in public. It provided a platform for the musicians to learn from each other and the event also served as a social gathering for the parents and the teachers.
Recently (2013), Dr. Albert Yu (violin), Dr. Stephen Chao (violin), and Ms. Joyce Wu (cello & piano) joined the group. Albert graduated from NTU medical school. Stephen is an electrical engineer and Joyce has a master degree in music education from Columbia University. October, 2013, Esther invited Ms. I-Ling Tsai to lead the Ensemble as the music director. I-Ling is a professional pianist, music teacher and conducting YAMAHA teaching seminars. Lately (2014), Dr. Ming Hsu (violin), Ms. Marie Lee (cello & piano) and Mrs. Mei-Lyn Fan(flute) joined. Ming graduated from Kaohsiung Medical School, Marie graduated from National Taiwan Normal University in Music. Mei-Lyn graduated from NTU sociology. Through Johnny Chiou (violin, chemical engineering), we were connected with Rey Chen (flute, chemical engineering) and Wendy Chen (Bassoon, Pharmacy). They will join our performance occasionally. Ingrid Kao (viola & piano) joined us in 2016 and now we have a violist to play string quartet.
Samuel Chen (violin) and Cynthia Tsai (cello & piano), both graduated from U.C. Irvine, had performed with us since they were in school. Joyce, Samuel and Cynthia are the young generations that will add vitality to our Chamber Ensemble. [updated on July 6, 2016]