Mei Chen Barnes
The Haverford School
College / Major
Queen’s University / Commerce (focus in finance)
If you’re not majoring in music, what role might music play during your college years?
Music has been quintessential in my development as a person and student, whether that be performing with PYO, practicing the violin and piano at home, or listening to my playlists on Spotify. Time permitting, I hope to continue playing the violin in some sort of ensemble in college. Throughout high school, it has helped me de-stress and unwind after a busy day of school and activities. I hope that music can do the same for me in college and in the years after.
How long have you been a member of the PYO Music Institute and in which ensembles did you participate?
2 years, first year PYAO, second year PYO
Did/do you have other family members who participated in the PYO Music Institute?
My sister Megan Chan ’24 was in YMDO, PYAO, and now she is in PYO with me.
Do you have any plans or activities planned for the summer?
I plan on continuing my finance internship, expanding the impact of my non-profit Food4Philly, playing tennis, and spending time with family and friends
What is one of your favorite PYOMI memories?
All of Maestro Scaglione’s mid-rehearsal philosophical lectures.
What are your most recent musical and/or academic achievements?
2022 PMEA District 11 Violinist, 1st Place in 2023 UPenn Math Contest, and 2023 Philadelphia Writing Project Honoree (part of the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards), and 2023 Diamond Challenge Regional Semi-Finalist
What are some of your favorite pieces of music that you have performed with PYO?
Despite its challenging nature, I enjoyed performing the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique with the rest of PYO. The complex history behind the piece and the emotional fluctuation throughout all the movements make it interesting to follow since I have a better understanding of the mood and what Berlioz intended. I recently performed Dies Irae with my school orchestra so it’s ironic that the fifth movement mocks it.
When you are not in rehearsal or practicing your instrument, what other activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
Playing tennis, watching the 76ers (not in game 7), running my non-profit, and traveling with my family.
What is one unique attribute about you that people find surprising?
I try to be personable with everyone I meet; there is always something new I can learn from someone so that is something I keep in mind.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What do you see yourself doing?
Hopefully I can start my own company, something at the crossroads of tech and finance. Regardless, I hope whatever I do has some positive net impact on society.