Concert violinist Iggy Jang holds court
By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Staff Writer
"I like playing basketball ... but I don't want to hurt myself," said Honolulu Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Ignace "Iggy" Jang, discussing his extracurricular hoop dreams. "I don't mind a sprained ankle, but I have to be careful with my hands."
Keeping his precious digits away from the courts will be particularly important this weekend as Jang takes center stage for a couple of performances with the orchestra and guest conductor Grant Llewellen. Still, I imagined that if Jang were able to scrape together a bunch of his symphony buddies for another one of their occasional pick-up games before this Sunday, he'd be on the courts, like, right now.
"Sometimes, I just play close to where I live Alapai Park or Stevenson (Intermediate) School," Jang said. "Usually, I end up playing with a bunch of high school kids who probably don't realize that I'm much older than them." Pause. "Which is a good thing, I think."
Asked to ante up the state of his b-ball prowess at age 32, Jang assured that he could still run up and down the asphalt with the best and youngest of 'em, albeit with a few limitations.
"In the last couple of years, I've realized that I haven't been able to defend as quickly as I used to," he sighed. "The younger kids are starting to get faster."
Feeling a bit aged myself, I segue our chat into a discussion of Jang's varied musical tastes, evidenced by a car CD player spinning Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," the Shostakovich "Violin Concerto in A Minor" he'll be playing this weekend, a homemade mix of the best of hip-hop artist Guru's "Jazzmatazz" series, a disc of tangos from Astor Piazzolla, and a Marvin Gaye compilation.
"I like Marvin Gaye and Motown," said Jang, his whisper of a voice noticeably perking up. "My favorite songs are 'What's Goin' On?' and 'Mercy Mercy Me.' "
And just because I've always wanted to know ... who CAN call you Iggy?
"Well, pretty much anyone can call me Iggy."