Interview - Francine Di

Francine Di’s parents left China in 1980 following the Cultural Revolution and moved to Houston, Texas, where she was born in 1981. Di started playing piano at the age of 11 and quickly fell in love with the instrument. This led her to enroll in the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston where she received a diploma in piano studies. During her time at HSPVA, Di also discovered her passion for singing and developed this skill alongside her study of piano. Following her time at HSPVA, Di went on to complete her undergraduate education at Rice University in 2003 with degrees in English and Piano Performance from the Shepherd School of Music. During her time at Rice, Di engaged in activities such as the Rice Jazz Band, which allowed her to expand her musical education beyond classical piano and later inspired her to take influence from a variety of musical genres. In 2005, Di received her Master’s in Piano Performance from the University of Florida and subsequently held positions as a Presidential Stewardship Writer and a Technical Writer at institutions such as Rice University and the National Oilwell Varco respectively. Furthermore, Di has published works such as the essay “A Jazzian Singer” in the anthology Asian American X (2004) as well as the poem “Daddy” in Imprint Magazine (2005). Currently, Di engages the Houston community through performance groups such as the Houston Chinese Orchestra and Eastern Echo Contemporary Eastern Folk Music Collective where she incorporates Chinese musical influence into covers of American popular music. She also has been working on her own family history project linked here: House of Di

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