Founders

Noniko Hsu

Calling herself “passionate about making the irrelevant Relevant!” Noniko graduated with a flute performance degree from the University of Michigan. She went to UofM with a mission: perform Disney’s Fantasia live! That expanded into her diverse experience across the university, from making 3D models to designing a trans-disciplinary education program. The pinnacle of Noniko’s time at school came with her directing three multimedia shows, each of which marries a standard flute recital with dynamic lighting, video stories, and interactive audio-response technology (Live Music Visuals). The most recent of these shows, Asah & Raeq, can be found here on YouTube.

After graduating, Noniko interned with NBC Sports, where she worked with News Coordination teams for the Golf Channel (WITHOUT having watched a single golf tournament and not knowing what the word ‘birdie’ meant). From there, her idea-saturated mind started to run wild again: Classical Music is, in a sense, just as competitive and entertaining as Sports. If she could become a fan of figure skating and understand how to appreciate it without ever skating herself, there must be a way to replicate this experience back to classical music. In this way, the barrier can be broken for so many people who confess that classical music is difficult to appreciate because they simply do not know how to listen to it.

Believing that appreciating and experiencing the power of music should not be restricted to the highly educated, Noniko co-founded Classical Music Network with Ryan. Step by step, she is building this company to be the ESPN of Classical Music, the go-to place for the classical music community, and an advocate for its people! 

I don't want ANY music graduates in the future to feel their degree is worthless anymore. I've gone through it, and it's the worst feeling ever. If CMN can successfully make CM mainstream again and become the corporation that hires thousands of people like Disney, perhaps, I hope, a music degree will then be seen as valuable (by the outsiders of course) once more.

- As a flutist, Noniko has won several flute competitions, including SEMFA, COFA, and FSW Young Artist. She has played with the Ann Arbor Camerata, LA Debut Orchestra, and numerous opera pit orchestras. When she’s not practicing, you can find Noniko absorbing a book in a tea house, busying herself with the hundreds of ideas that fly through her mind, or maybe re-watching a Harry Potter movie for the X time!

 

Ryan McDonald

When Ryan journeyed up to the University of Michigan from his home state of Georgia, he was on a mission: to become a better violist. And a better violist he became! (he thinks) But more than just learning to play the “big fiddle”, he ended up doing some other pretty cool things.

Ryan is a founding member of Converge: A New Music Collective. This student-run organization is dedicated to the study and performance of chamber works by student composers. An important part of Converge is that these pieces get to live though more than one performance, not all of them within the music school. It’s not unusual to see Converge sharing their love for new music in the middle of town (when it’s not snowing) or at a retirement home!

A classic violist, Ryan loves creating music alongside other people. He has played with the Athens Symphony Orchestra, the ARCO Chamber Orchestra, the Midland Symphony Orchestra, the Ann Arbor Camerata, the Toccoa Symphony Orchestra, and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra. While new music is at the forefront of his chamber music work, Ryan has had plenty of experience with the golden oldies of chamber music through school, summer festivals, and (his favorite) late-night sight-reading parties with friends.

Ryan is also a huge nerd and loves talking about classical music just as much as he enjoys playing it. That’s how this lovely organization called Classical Music Network came to be. It all started with a half-serious conversation between him and fellow co-founder Noniko about how cool it would be to have commentators for music competitions…

- Outside of music, Ryan follows the competitive scene for Super Smash Bros. Melee, where he eagerly awaits the return of the legend PPMD. Ryan loves to read books, whether they be high fantasy, historical fiction, or philosophical discussion. Ryan also enjoys cooking, and it is his dream to own a badass kitchen with all the bells and whistles. His favorite food is, without question, southern barbeque.

 

 

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