Tag Archives: Yut Chia

Big dreams coming to life for Bayside young violinist

| Phertling@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Phil Hertling

Yut Chia, a violinist who earns a living performing on subway platforms, has seen many of his dreams turn to reality over the last few weeks.

The 19-year-old is now a second violinist for the Manhattan Symphonie and has gained recognition from a few of his childhood idols.

Chia, born in Colombia, grew up in Bayside. He now lives in College Point, where he, his mother, Shydney Gracia, and little brother, Andres, have a one bedroom, second floor apartment.

“I always wanted to play [violin],” said Chia. “But my mom couldn’t afford lessons until I was in seventh grade.”

Since then, Chia, who is half Chinese, half Colombian, has made it his goal to earn a living through playing the violin.

Two years ago, he and friend Edward Li began performing on Manhattan subway platforms to earn money. Chia saw it as an opportunity to help support his single mother and to also raise money for his college education.

“We started playing music from Nuttin’ But Stringz,” said Chia. “Their music is what people like.” Nuttin’ But Stringz is a duo from Jamaica that mixes classical violin with hip-hop and R&B. He also named classical orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic as influences.

“I listened to all the orchestras,” said Chia. “I’d go on You Tube and listen to all the famous violinists.”

Chia and his friends would play on the subway for seven to eight hours, until they earned about $100 each. “We needed money first,” Chia said. “I needed a new bow and a new violin.”

However, earlier this month, Chia’s life took a sudden turn when a surprise visit was paid during a performance with his quartet.

Damien Escobar from Nuttin’ But Stringz showed up to play side by side with Chia for about 15 minutes.

“It was awesome, he surprised me, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said Chia. “He invited me to be in his music video.”

Escobar and Chia will be on set together July 26 at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, the scheduled date for the video shoot.

But Escobar is just one of four to reach out to the young violinist this month.

Attorney John Castro, from the Castro Law firm, gave a $1,000 donation to support Chia’s efforts. “He said we come from the same story,” said Chia. “They told him not to continue his pursuit of being a lawyer.”

The generous donation was quickly put into use, as Chia was finally able to purchase his new bow and violin this week, at a cost of $4,000.

Chia was also contacted by Andre Rieu, violinist and founder of the Johann Strauss Orchestra, and Gregory Singer, conductor of the Manhattan Symphonie. Rieu looks forward to meeting with the hard-working violinist, who owns a DVD of performances by Rieu himself.

“He contacted me, he wants to see me,” said Chia. “He travels all over the world.”

Chia’s first performance with the Manhattan Symphonie was on July 19 at The Players Club in Gramercy Park. Singer will now look to prepare Chia for his college auditions by giving him lessons at his shop in Manhattan.

In the meantime, Chia will continue to play in the subways in order to earn enough money to go to Queens College.

“After I reach college, hopefully I won’t be in subways. Hopefully, I’ll be in concert halls.”


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Heat Brings Outages, Voltage Reductions To Some; Fun To Others

The second day of near-triple-digit temperatures brought power outages and voltage reductions to thousands across the city. As of 10 p.m. Thursday evening, Con Edison is reporting more than 2,500 outages across the five boroughs. 1,019 of those outages are in Brooklyn, while 906 are in Queens. Read more: [NY1]

Cuffs for big bro, 23, who ‘lost’ li’l bro, 5

A Queens boy learned the hard way he can’t count on his big brother. Zackary Nazario, 5, was missing for more than eight hours after he was frightened out of his South Ozone Park home by a cockroach — while his baby-sitting 23-year-old brother was out buying a beer. Read more: [New York Post]

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall launches gun buy-back program 

The all-too-frequent sound of gunfire in one Queens precinct has been heard in Borough Hall. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, responding to an alarming number of shootings in Jamaica’s 113th Precinct, has come up with $50,000 for a gun buy-back program on Saturday. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Queens Residents Complain Horse Manure From Riding School Leaving A Stinky Mess.

In the midst of oppressive heat, a Queens neighborhood with aquaint view of horses has become overwhelmed by the smell of them. Lynne’s Riding School in Forest Hills is a little stable tucked into a corner of the big city. They have been offering lessons for 65 years, but, lately, the old stable has been the subject of complaints from newer neighbors.Read more: [1010wins]

 U.S. Open Holds Ball Person Tryouts

Hundreds of hopefuls tried out to be ballboys and ballgirls at the U.S. Open Thursday. Battling sweltering temperatures, contestants from all over the city lined up outside the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for a shot at one of the 80 available positions. United States Tennis Association officials evaluated the competition on their running, throwing and catching skills. Read more: [NY1]

Queens high school violinist seeks to play his way from an F-train platform to a concert stage 


At a time when high school students are struggling to find part-time gigs in the tough economy, a 19-year-old Queens violinist is tapping into his pursuit of virtuosity to create a college fund. Yut Chia, who is graduating from Bayside High School this month, has been filling subway platforms with his bitter-sweet classical renditions since he was a junior and hopes to raise funds to keep up his musical pursuit. Read more: [New York Daily News]