Asher Wulfman ’15 is a violinist who works with several musical programs. He is Associate Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Concertmaster and Vice President of the Princeton High School Orchestra, and a member of several chamber ensembles, including programs at Temple University and a chamber group with several other students and a player from the Philadelphia Orchestra. After studying his instrument for 13 years, Wulfman plans to continue his musical training by attending a music school and performing in professional orchestras after graduating college.
Why did you begin playing the violin, and how did your interest in music develop?
I started when I was five years old … probably because I’ve been hearing violin since I was born. My mom’s a violinist, and, as she tells me, I was reaching for her violin as soon as I could stand. When I was big enough to play, [my parents] handed me one of my own, and I got started. [Because] my mom is a violinist and my dad is very much a music appreciator … there was always music playing in the house, whether it was my mom playing or we were listening to music. My older brother is also a musician … [who] started around the same time, so it was something we were doing together.
What are some other ways you are involved in music?
I’ve been doing a lot of music my whole life. I did three years at the [American] Boychoir School, and now I’m in Testostertones, so that’s my singing outlet these days. I’ve been taking theory classes since I was pretty young, so I have a lot of experience there.
Which programs are you participating in this year?
This is going to be my third year in the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, and I am Associate Concertmaster this year. That’s really fun; it’s the biggest orchestra that I’m a part of. I am also a member of a chamber orchestra and small chamber ensembles through Temple University. I go there every Saturday and spend the whole day in Philadelphia. In the mornings, I have my youth orchestra, and in the afternoons, I have my Temple University [programs]. Then, I take my lessons at the Kimmel Center, so it’s a full day in [the city]; it’s my musical day. I was never really inclined to do competitions. I never needed that external validation, because I knew that I’m doing what I want to do. But I will be playing a solo with the Princeton High School Orchestra at the winter concert.
During the busy school year, how do you manage your time between schoolwork and music?
Violin is my main focus because I want to go to a music school. Basically, 50 percent, or maybe more, of my work and stress this year comes from the violin. I have to prepare for auditions along with the application process. Something I’ve had to do this year is create a … schedule for practicing by locking in times every day that I can use to practice, no matter how large my workload is.
How do you plan to pursue music after high school?
I [plan to] be a music performance major, although I am hoping to double major or at least take other academic courses in college. I don’t know how I’m going to be feeling in four years, but right now, the most logical path would be to start auditioning for [professional] orchestras right after [graduating] to try to achieve a position. That’s very competitive, so a large part of being a musician is rolling with it.
Would you ever consider being a teacher?
I already, actually, do a little teaching. I have a five year old that I teach, and I really like doing that, even though it can be kind of draining sometimes. [Teaching] is something I would definitely be interested [in].
Do you have any advice to other musicians or students pursuing their passions?
It took me a while to realize that you shouldn’t worry about whether or not your passion is cool … I always felt like I should be doing sports instead of music, and it took me a while to get past that. I think, generally, people respect when you’re really serious about something, no matter what it is. If you’re passionate, you should stick with it.