Conversations with members of the Harvard and Radcliffe Class of 1992.
Hosted by Will Bachman.

Episode: 98

Julie Lin, The Kidneys and Chamber Music

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Show notes

Julie Lin was a medical student at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons when she met her future husband. It was the first day of medical school and they met while attending a class where they were both serious amateur classical musicians. Julie talks about their shared love of music and how they planned to have a family quartet.


The All-state Orchestra Model
Julie shares her story of starting an orchestra at medical school, which initially had a traditional weekly rehearsal and concert. However, they found that the show rate was low as exam time approached, leading to the creation of the Allstate orchestra model. This model involved distributing music and parts ahead of time, having a three or four-hour rehearsal, and playing in front of an invited live audience.


Experiences at Medical School
Julie initially thought she would be a clinician, but during her nephrology fellowship program, she trains to become a specialist in kidney medicine, she also became interested in clinical research. This realization led her to pursue academic nephrology, which was life-changing for her. After her husband’s residency and postdoctoral training in Boston, Julie started working as an instructor at Harvard Medical School and attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. As part of her job offer, she negotiated for funding from the nephrology division to obtain a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard, focusing on quantitative analysis rather than policy.


Working in Nephrology Research
Julie worked as an investigator in the Channing laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Harvard, where they had ongoing cohort studies of health professionals for over 10 years. She was one of the many NIH-funded investigators in the Nurses Health Study, a cohort study of >120,000 US nurses who signed up in 1976. A subset of women in the study had submitted blood and urine samples, which allowed for analyses of change in estimated kidney function over 11 years between 1989 and 2000.


Kidney Function Decline Research
Julie’s research included looking at diet, nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns and how they impacted kidney function and change. Work that gained the most media attention was diet work. Her research found that drinking two or more servings of artificially sweetened drinks, likely soda, was associated with a faster kidney function decline in women over 11 years. This was about three times faster than normal aging alone. The researchers adjusted for factors like diabetes and high blood pressure, which are big risk factors for kidney function loss. Julie also talks about research on the Mediterranean diet vs. Western dietary patterns.

Diet for Kidney Health
The conversation turns to the concept of the blue zone, which has been associated with longevity and longevity, but that many people living over 100 years in these areas may have exaggerated their age due to poor record keeping. This leads Julie to remark that a main concern for scientists is how well information is being captured and measured. Julie shares tips on the best diet for kidney health. Low sugar intake is recommended, as it can lead to weight gain and diabetes. Vegetarian diets are also healthy, and fish is recommended as the main source of animal protein.


A Clinical Research Career in Industry
Julie talks about the reduction in academic research funding, and why she decided to continue her clinical research career in industry, working on clinical trials and developing new drugs. She has worked with Amgen, Genzyme, a rare disease company, as well as at a gene therapy startup called Dimension Therapeutics, which was acquired by Ultragenyx. Her current role is as global project head at Sanofi. She talks about her role and the importance of assessing efficacy and safety of new therapies.

Playing in Community Orchestras and Chamber Music
Julie explains that, as an amateur musician, she has found it to be a great outlet for her stress and the intense work she had to do while working and taking care of her children when they were younger. She joined a community orchestra in 2012, since then she has played in a number of community orchestras, including New Philharmonia, Longwood, and Brookline Symphony. Julie has also played with the Mercury Orchestra, founded and conducted by Channing Yu, Class of 93. Recently, she decided to focus on chamber music, which has been her true love. She has a lot of local musician friends to play with. Julie explains that playing chamber music brings a sense of flow and connection to others, making it a great gift.


Influential Harvard Professors and Courses
Julie shares her experiences in Harvard’s music 180 class, taught by Leon Kirchner and Lynn Chang, which was an intense experience. She also recalls a class where a modern and atonal piece was played by an advanced violinist, which changed her view of Schoenberg’s music. She also mentions Helen Vendler’s poetry class.


05:38 Medical school experiences, including a non-linear podcast format and a successful orchestra performance
09:30 Career paths in medicine, including becoming a physician scientist, with insights on negotiation for benefits and research in nephrology
16:31 Diet and kidney function, with findings on artificial sweetened drinks and Mediterranean diet
21:17 Aging, nutrition, and kidney health with a former academic researcher turned pharmaceutical industry professional
28:36 Musical experiences and focus on chamber music
33:01 Music, Harvard, and the importance of flow




This Episode’s Featured Non-profit

The featured non-profit of this episode is Esperanza Shelter, recommended by Caribou Honig who reports “Hi, I’m Caribou Honig, class of 1992. The featured nonprofit of this episode of The 92 report is Esperanza shelter. The shelter does incredibly important work, enabling people and very importantly, their children, to escape abusive relationships throughout northern New Mexico. Equally important, is that they provide a wide range of services to help those survivors get back on their feet, providing everything from emergency shelter to transitional housing to counseling and life skills. My wife and I have been donating to Esperanza shelter since 2020. You can learn more about their work at Esperanza Esperanza for those of you not in the know is the Spanish word for hope. And now here’s Will Bachman with this week’s episode.

To learn more about their work, visit



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Julie Lin, Will Bachman


Will Bachman  00:01

Hello, and welcome to the 90 T report conversations with members of the Harvard and Radcliffe class of 1992. I’m your host will Bachman and I’m here today with Julie Lin. Julie, welcome to the show.


Julie Lin  00:15

Thank you for having me. So Julie, tell me about your journey since graduating from Harvard. So I was on a very narrow and straight path. Right after graduation, I went straight to medical school at Columbia, medical, what’s called the College of Physicians and Surgeons. I knew your York City in upper upper Manhattan. That would be West 1/68 Street neighborhood. And I met my future husband on the first day.


Will Bachman  00:49

That was very efficient. So I want to hear that story. But I also it just occurred to me I got to ask the College of Physicians and Surgeons are yes, our physicians, not surgeons, or surgeons, not our surgeons, not physicians. Now,


Julie Lin  01:07

I guess it depends on who you ask. Okay. I mean, you know, there is a big cultural difference in mindset between those who become internal medicine and psychiatrists and pediatricians versus surgeons, right. Surgeons like to work with their hands.


Will Bachman  01:26

Yeah. I guess I never thought of it. I mean, Harvard Medical School just heard at Harvard Medical School. Right. But that, yeah, so it’s right. It sort of seems suggests at some point, Columbia thought that they didn’t say, College of Physicians, including surgeons, but physicians and surgeons, okay.


Julie Lin  01:46

Place of a prediction, I guess.


Will Bachman  01:50

All right. So you met tell us how you met your husband. On the very first day, were you guys standing in line for the, you know, the doctor badge or, you know, or we’re


Julie Lin  02:00

very close. We were, we were waiting for a tour to be given by a second year tour guide of the beautiful campus. And there happened to be quite a few number of people from both Harvard and Yale, which is where he graduated from. In our class. It was class about 150. And we started talking about music. It turns out, we’re both serious amateur classical musicians. He he had played the clarinet and Yale symphony. And I had played in Bach society orchestra and a number of musical kind of groups, including Lowell House opera, and the pit orchestra on occasion for the Gilbert and Sullivan shows at Agassi theater.


Will Bachman  02:53

Oh, and what’s your instrument? Julie?


Julie Lin  02:55



Will Bachman  02:57

Okay. All right. So you guys are one half of a quartet, basically, just about? Well,


Julie Lin  03:05

the speeding ahead. But we decided very early, when we decided we were going to be together that we would have a family quartet would have to be at quartet. And sure enough, we are son plays violin and viola, but he’s now the viola, so the family and my daughter had to play the cello then. That’s how we, in a way, how we survived the pandemic, when all these other poor people, you know, were really sad. They weren’t playing in orchestras or in chamber music groups. We have family chamber music groups. So that’s been amazing.


Will Bachman  03:44

Your daughter, you’re like, I’m sorry, but you must play the cello. That’s the only No, no, this


Julie Lin  03:50

is a it’s a famous story. So it is very clear. If you look around, that’s the correct age, the optimal age to start a string instrument is the age of four. And that’s when both my children started taking musical instruments. And I said to Henry, our son, I said, Well, there’s a new baby coming. But you and I are going to do something special together. And you have a very important decision to make. Will do you want to play the violin or the cello? That was his decision. And he’s like, he’s so sweet. And he said, I want to play the violin like mommy. Okay, all right. Let’s go.


Will Bachman  04:32

And you and your daughter, you’re like, you have an important decision. You can play the cello or you can leave the family so


Julie Lin  04:39

it would no no that she was given their decision. I said she was about four and I said today’s a great day, get in the car. We’re gonna go get you a cello because you’re gonna start cello lessons and she says, but I don’t want to play the cello. I want to play the violin like mommy and Henry. And I said, Well, Sophia, that’s too bad because Have we needed Charles in the family so that we can have a family quartet? And that’s what we’re missing. As you said, Wait a minute, did we get to choose what he wanted to play? I was like, Yeah. And she says, but I didn’t get to choose. And I said, Nope, because we need a chalice. She said, Mommy, that’s not fair. And I said, Honey, life ain’t fair. Get in the car, we get Hello. Okay, you know what? She loves the cello. So it was just it was all meant to be. Oh,


Will Bachman  05:29

that was so wonderful. What a great story. You should have been born first. Sorry. It’s all that’s left. Life


Julie Lin  05:37

isn’t fair. You got it. You gotta like, you know, make the best of what cards you’re dealt with, as they say.


Will Bachman  05:43

Okay, so you guys talk about music? You’re standing in line? Yeah. And yeah. Okay, so proceed. I interrupted your story.


Julie Lin  05:53

This is good. No, it’s fine. And then well, you know, it’s one of those, you know, movies nowadays, like they go back and forth. And time, we can consider this podcast one of those non linear, you know, movies. So we we started talking, and then I don’t even know how this whole thing habits. Before you know it, we were starting an orchestra together at medical school. So you know, there’s nothing that binds people together more than that. So he conducted, and I was the personnel manager, because it turns out, I apparently have some natural talent for organizing events and people. So we did this. And we originally, it was just a chamber orchestra. You know, there were a lot of talented musicians in our class and beyond. And we started with, you know, what we knew, which was the traditional weekly rehearsal for several weeks, and then a concert. And then we quickly found out that as exam time got near, you know, we would get a very low, low show rate. And so we change to what we call the Allstate orchestra model, where it’s a day where we distribute the music and the parts ahead of time, people came, we had a three or four hour rehearsal, and then we would play in front of people. This way, we got faculty and undergraduates and conservatory musicians from all over New York City to agree to play in this was minimal commitment. And we’ve had great repertoire. So like, you know, by by the before we left, the last piece that my husband conducted was Shostakovich five, right, which is no slouch piece. And I remember our son he was I did not play in that concert. I still work in eyes to all the personnel somehow. But he that was his first concert. He was about one year old, maybe a little bit more. And he at the end, he looked around, he was very startled. Everyone was clapping. He had not been in a crowd before, right where everyone’s like clapping, and he’s tried to clap his hands. That’s one of my favorite memories of him when he was a baby.


Will Bachman  08:14

Ah, every every child should get to go to Shostakovich five, when they’re when you’re I


Julie Lin  08:20

agree. It’s a great piece.


Will Bachman  08:24

So I love that. So you really adopted your love. It’s called the Allstate model like okay, we’re just gonna, you know, do our homework show up, get ready, rehearse for three hours and boom, you know, put on Oh, and


Julie Lin  08:37

I forgot to mention the pizza that was attracting starving medical students and all but I think the faculty who played in our orchestra also enjoyed it.


Will Bachman  08:47

Okay, amazing. So, you two went through medical school. What else would you want to share about medical school?


Julie Lin  08:58

Yeah, it was. Besides, that was hard. It was pretty, it was pretty tough. Well, so frank, was in the MD Ph. D. Program, which was nice. Not only did he get to attend medical school tuition free, he got a stipend. Because he committed to doing a PhD degree. Also, those are very competitive programs. So there were only maybe four or five people in each class of 150. That would be offered. You’d have to apply of course, and express your interest in becoming a physician scientist. I always thought I was going to be a clinician and after I finished medical school, I entered the internal medicine program at Presbyterian Hospital, which is the Columbia hospital. So just continued on there with many of my classmates who also went to internal medicine. It’s it’s a You know, very strong program. And then after that I went into the nephrology fellowship program and specialized in kidney medicine. So, I always thought I was going to be primarily a clinician and take care of patients. And then during my nephrology fellowship, I started working on research projects. And I became very interested in that clinical research, not lab research, like my husband. And, and then that I guess that kind of was life changing because on one day, the, in my the beginning of my second year in my fellowship, the fellowship director, Dr. J. Rata Krishnan called me into his office and said, Do you think you want to do this? And I said, what, what are we talking about? You said, you know, you know, academic nephrology, and I said, Oh, little old me, you think I have the good to do academic nephrology. So, and that was and then, you know, that was a revelation again, for me. And so that’s, that’s what I did for the first part of my career after my training, because my husband wanted to come to Boston, and do his training in residency and pathology, and then go do a postdoc in the lab. We moved to Boston with at that time, our who’s about two years old, our son and and then I started a job at Harvard Medical School, as a instructor in medicine, and on the physician scientist track. And, you know, when I was at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as as was Frank, doing his residency now,


Will Bachman  11:57

to become a physician scientist, is it a normal thing to do that without having a PhD? Or I just don’t know that world at all? What’s involved in that?


Julie Lin  12:08

Sure, yeah, there are many there are many paths there. I mean, one of the things I did negotiate for at my job was that the nephrology division would fund additional education. So I got a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard. And I was very focused on the quantitative, you know, kind of analysis part, as opposed to policy or something like that. So I think, yes, I know a lot of physician scientists who don’t necessarily have a PhD.


Will Bachman  12:50

Now, I’m just doing the math. And you said that you your last concert in medical school, your son was a year old. So my advanced maths is that you gave birth to your son while you’re in medical school.


Julie Lin  13:05

Talk about that. Oh, no, no, that was the last concert of our time there. So I was already I was already my fellowship. Yeah. That much of a child. Right. Although I see now I was a child bride.


Will Bachman  13:19

All right. All right. Because I would imagine that would be difficult, possible, I suppose. But but difficult to, you know, to be pregnant during medical school. And


Julie Lin  13:28

no, it was worse. I was pregnant during my residency. Oh, that was my last year. Yeah. And that’s been it was very, it was very unusual. I think it’s more common now that women physicians are pregnant during their training. But it was extremely rare back then, you know, I don’t know, it just happens when it happens, right? You have to make do with the cards you’re dealt.


Will Bachman  13:57

If you wait till your training is done, you’re like 30 something years old. Right. Right.


Julie Lin  14:02

And interestingly, that’s what that’s what the people in medical training, they negotiate for nowadays, it I’ve heard they try to negotiate for things like fertility treatments, which are not covered by insurance, typically, but they want that as part of their benefits package in, you know, during during their residency training.


Will Bachman  14:27

Tell me a bit about your nephrology research. What are some of the things that you’re working on or have worked on?


Julie Lin  14:35

Yeah, so I mean, we’ll get to this but you know, I transitioned out of academic nephrology for several years, but my research I was very interested in predictors of kidney function decline, you know, so what causes people to lose kidney function? What are the risk factors and I was fortunate to work as an investigator in the Channing laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Harvard, where they had ongoing cohort studies of health professionals. So I did a lot of work in the Nurses Health Study one. And then there was a follow up Nurses Health Study to I didn’t think I did much with that. Because it was Nurses Health Study, one, where there were a subset of the 120,000 nurses in the US who signed on for this in 1976. There were several 100 that did send in urine and blood samples as part of sub studies. And so we’re able to look at whether they had protein albuminuria in the urine, as well as what their change in kidney function was fire as measured by blood tests, over 11 years, it was between 1989 and 2000. So we could look at that and look at factors such as biomarkers in the blood. So you know, they some people are more inflamed than others. And that seems to drive kidney function decline as well as albuminuria. I had a really great year where I did a number of walls more than one year, several years, looked at the role of diet. So that would be nutrients, foods and, and dietary patterns, and how that seems to influence kidney function change over time?


Will Bachman  16:46

And what are some of the findings you had as an academic that you are proud of stuff that you thought were most impactful?


Julie Lin  16:55

Yeah, so I mean, so one of the things that got the most attention, including media attention, was the diet work, as you can imagine, because we all eat, and we are all interested in that. And we all we all like our kidneys very much, you know, we don’t know until they’ve failed quite a bit, that there’s something wrong often can be pretty silent, because our bodies are really great at compensating for a long time. So I would say probably the some of the work I’m most proud of is reporting that note again, caveats in older, you know, white nurses in the US that two or more servings of artificially sweetened drinks, but we think that’s probably mostly soda, but it wasn’t, you know, captured in that way on the on the dietary food frequency questionnaires, that that is associated with a faster kidney function decline in women, and that was over 11 years. And so you’d say how much faster I think it was about three times faster than you would expect from normal aging alone.


Will Bachman  18:12

So drinking diet coke would be bad for your kidneys, potentially. Yes.


Julie Lin  18:18

And there’s absolutely no nutritional value. I want to point out and drinking diet coke.


Will Bachman  18:23

Yeah. Now Yeah. And that’s even worse than drinking regular soda, like drinking regular sweetened soda.


Julie Lin  18:30

We didn’t find an association between sugar sweetened beverages and and kidney function change over time. Yeah, and this is after, you know, we try to in the model, right, that was built, we tried to adjust for things like diabetes and high blood pressure. Those are big risk factors for kidney function loss.


Will Bachman  18:55

So that sounds surprising, right? You think, oh, you know, there’s no sugar in it. There’s no corn syrup. That’s good. You think? Yes, but


Julie Lin  19:04

it may be the article and then the question always came out, well, what type of artificial sweetener so that data was not collected. But you know, the strength of that data set in that analysis was that there were repeated measures of the of the food frequency questionnaire. And we could also see that the set the data set of women, they had pretty consistent dietary habits over the years. The kind of related to that the researchers at Channing harbored that that would be Walt Willett and Frank who, who were some of my mentors on these projects as well. They had developed a way of quantifying, you know, kind of coming up with a score of looking at a Mediterranean diet, which is considered a very A healthy dietary pattern, right? So if you think like what Italians eat in terms of like a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts and olive oil and things like that, and kind of low on red meat, versus what’s called a Western dietary pattern, which is just essentially, I guess, McDonald’s, that’s a Western pattern diet was, as we hypothesized, also associated with faster kidney function loss.


Will Bachman  20:32

While you’re talking about Mediterranean diet, I’ve, you hear about the blue zone thing, and it was big for a while. But then I saw recently that some people looked at these blue zones more carefully. And it turned out that a lot of the places that were like these blue zones, where they had these longevity, you know, people living over 100 years, a lot of that might have been due to the fact that they just had very bad record record keeping in those, oh, and then it looks like, you know, once the record keeping improved, all of a sudden, after that year, there’s no more of these centenarians are very, very few of them. And so it was just like, people that were potentially exaggerating their age, because they were with very poor record keeping.


Julie Lin  21:16

Oh, that is hilarious. And but you put you will you put your finger on, I think, for scientists, right, the major issue, which is how well, are you measuring things? How accurately how reproducibly? Are you measuring things and capturing?


Will Bachman  21:37

Yeah, yeah. So like the Sicily the Okinawa, and they’re, you know, some people would have incentives to, to exaggerate their age,


Julie Lin  21:47

or, because they get things out of it. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, that’s fascinating, although, and then, but there, I strongly believe there’s also a genetic component to this, right, that if you have ancestors that are longer lived or long lived, that you have a higher probability of have also been long lived yourself. So it’s hard to separate that out from the environmental factors, of


Will Bachman  22:11

course, but the top takeaways in terms of kidney health, if you’re trying to adjust your diet, for it, the best kidney health you can get, what would your tips be?


Julie Lin  22:23

Well, I think so the kidney is full of blood vessels. So I would say it’s, you know, it would be the same as a heart healthy diet, which I think people are more familiar with. Right? So, um, although this changes over time, right, because I was reading stuff like, oh, saturated fats, okay. Again, you know, but basically, not a lot of, despite the fact that we didn’t find an association between, you know, sugar sweetened beverages. You know, sugar does make you gain weight. If you get diabetes, again, that’s a huge risk factor for developing heart and kidney disease. So I would say low sugar. You know, vegetarian diets seem very healthy, I have to say, although, you know, I do love my animal protein. So I don’t know if I could give that up. But, you know, I think everything in moderation makes sense to me. But, you know, a lot of fish, right for your animal protein as opposed to, as opposed to beef. Okay.


Will Bachman  23:36

You said that you left the academic world, talk to me about your, you know, sort of keep playing the chronology forward.


Julie Lin  23:44

Okay. So when I started my academic career, one in three NIH grants were being funded after 2008 When President George W. Bush committed to a war in Iraq, and that money shrank quite a bit. And when I transitioned out of academic medicine in 2012, only one in 10 grants are being funded. That’s a huge difference. And in fact, you know, I think that’s not improved a great deal, unfortunately. So it became very difficult and also what I did, including the nutritional epidemiology analyses we’ve been talking about, that was very innovative and kind of hot, you know, when I started my research career, in fact, at that time, people at the training lab were routinely getting their papers in into the New England Journal for these types of analyses, and that is no longer the case. So I wanted to I had so much deep training and experience in clinical research, I knew that’s what I wanted to continue to do, as opposed to switch to, you know, maybe policy or working for insurers or something like that. So I guess it was I came to the natural conclusion that in order to do deeply meaningful clinical research, that my best chances of achieving that was to transition to industry. So pharmaceutical company, biotech. It’s a very different kind of research though, because now I’m involved with, you know, clinical trials. So essentially human experiments, right, giving people new drugs, testing the safety and the efficacy of those drugs against placebo. So it’s, it’s very humbling, really, that patients and their physicians enter clinical trials. If I think about it.


Will Bachman  26:10

Can you talk about some of the compounds or drugs that you’ve been working on or the types of trials you’ve been working on?


Julie Lin  26:18

In short, no, we probably shouldn’t go there. Okay.


Will Bachman  26:23

If they’re if they’re sort of still underway, got it. What, what companies have you worked with?


Julie Lin  26:29

Sure. So I had my initial industry job was at Amgen. I’ve worked at Genzyme, which is rare disease company soon after it was acquired by Sanofi. Then I was at a gene therapy startup for about three and a half years. And then in 2018, I got recruited to my current role, which is called Global Project head at Sanofi, and I’ve worked in a number of projects since that time, I’ve worked mostly in rare disease, some some but not all. nephrology. And, you know, I learned a lot every every day, every week from my colleagues.


Will Bachman  27:15

Without talking about specific compounds or drugs, yeah. Are you allowed to just give us kind of the, the shape and contour of what your role is about? Like, what what’s sort of your, your responsibility?


Julie Lin  27:28

Sure, I mean, we’re told as the global project has, we are the CEOs of the, of a given project, advancing a compound, you know, through the clinic, and hopefully into approval at some point. But that’s a job of many years. And, and I would say, I’ve worked mostly in early phases of development. And that is, as I’ve heard, colleagues say, it tends to be a graveyard of failed drugs, either for efficacy or safety. So, you know, there’s a lot out in the press, in the public knowledge that many, many drugs fail,


Will Bachman  28:11

of course. Yeah. Tell us more about let’s go back to your music career. As a you know, amateur lover of music. Yeah. Big after leaving Columbia, in your chamber orchestra there have beyond the family quartet? Have you continued on with that, and what has that meant in your life?


Julie Lin  28:36

Yes, it saves my soul when I get my sunburn from work. My the sunburn on my soul is I think of it from, you know, the intense work and the stress. It’s a great outlet. So, for many years, I was so busy building my career at the hospital, and taking care of young children, that I didn’t play myself very much. But I was taking my kids to their lessons and sitting in so I was learning from their teachers. They they had excellent teachers. It’s that’s pretty easy in the Boston area. And their connections actually, oh, this is great. My daughter has has had two initial cello teachers. There was one who, you know, taught her from the very beginning until she was about 12 or 14. I don’t remember now. But then her second teacher who’s on faculty at NEC prep is also a Harvard graduate. Eugene Kim. He’s a fantastic cellist and a fantastic teacher. And he was class of 93. And he and I worked at the music library together. We’re on the graduates Yeah, so so that that’s it was great to reconnect with him, but it’s like, you know, one of those it’s a small world situations. Yeah. And but no. And so I didn’t play for many years myself. But then actually the transition to industry, I felt that now, you know, I wasn’t taking call the hospital, etc. And I had a little bit more breathing room, also psychologically. So I joined a community orchestra in 2012, based on some encouragement and recommendations from friends, other musician, friends. And then since then I’ve played in a number of community orchestras, including, so that was new Philharmonia new. That was the first one I joined. And then I have played in Longwood, but kind of, you know, just in the summer, but that gave me the opportunity to play at the hat shell, which is a great adventure. I was playing in Brookline Symphony for a few years that was through the pandemic. But there any, any other posters? Oh, and actually, I need to give a shout out to the mercury orchestra, which is a summer orchestra that is founded and conducted by Channing, you, Class of 93. He was a big, you know, leader. He was a leader in the leadership of HR when he was an undergraduate. So so that’s, those are some of the works really played. But most recently, I decided to focus on chamber music, which is, I think, my my true love, and I have a lot of friends to play with. And it’s, it’s, it’s been great. And in fact, my husband and I are going to chamber music camp in Europe. This summer for a week and I this is the first time we’re going to gather, I have been to a chamber music camp that has been known as Bennington, because it was at Bennington College. But the official name is Chamber Music Conference and composers conference of the East. It’s over 75 years old. And so met a lot of great friends and players there as well. So yeah, chamber music’s kind of, now the center of my musical life. And I’ll play last week, I played three different sessions with different people.


Will Bachman  32:38

What happens at summer camp for chamber music?


Julie Lin  32:42

Oh, it’s a lot of work. Okay, so the chamber, so the Bennington chamber music camp, they assign you four whole pieces, not movements. Each piece, you know, has four movements, I was assigned a piece that had six movements a lot, you know, a couple summers ago. And the expectation is that you prepare, and you come ready, and you get coached by professionals. And you, you have an option to perform with your group, if everyone would like to do that, you know, for the camp and for the for the faculty. So that’s, it’s a lot of work, but it’s fun.


Will Bachman  33:25

Tell me a little bit about what it feels like in your brain to when you’re playing the music. And what’s the change? Or what’s that thing that you say, you know, is the kind of that removes the sunburn from your soul? Is it that you can feel in a state of flow while it’s happening? Is it equivalent to a runner’s high afterwards? Is it something that, you know, lasts for days afterwards? Or is it just in the moment? Like, just tell me a little bit about what the experience is like?


Julie Lin  33:57

No, I definitely think it’s it’s flow, all those things you said, really resonate. And it does. It is like a high, it lasts for more than just the time that you know, that you’re in the process of playing. I think also, it’s about feeling connected to other people in a very special way. And that’s, you know, musically very intimate. Like, I was playing Mendelssohn quartets with some friends just a couple of evenings ago, and we’ve played together before over the years, but somehow we were really really, you know, we have that Vulcan mind meld thing going on. So like, you know, I would slow down or someone would slow down will take more time here. We want to, you know, you know, change the dynamics here, you know, a sudden piano and we were just all locked into each other and it’s an amazing it’s just an amazing feeling. Well, Yeah,


Will Bachman  35:00

what a great gift. What a great gift.


Julie Lin  35:02

Yes, well, everyone can have that, you know, when people say, Oh, do your kids love, you know, playing their instruments, my response is like, do you do you ask your kids if they like spelling or math? I mean, I think this is an essential skill. I know not everyone has this, and it is tough to stick with and practicing is not fun, especially when you’re a child. But it just it I think, you know, it just brings so much color and depth and richness to your life. And unlike, you know, sports, especially contact sports, I know people who still play their instruments into their, you know, into their 80s. So that’s kind of amazing.


Will Bachman  35:49

Tell me about any courses or professors, or activities that you had in Harvard, that continue to resonate with you.


Julie Lin  36:01

Yeah, so along this music theme in my freshman year, I was in music 180, which is a chamber music class. At that time. The instructors were Leon Kirschner and Lin Chang. And actually I still see Lin Chang around, I was studying with him freshman year. And I’ve met his wife since then. Also she’s very prominent person. She talks a lot about medicine and music. She’s a pediatrician. And she speaks about that. So that was a very amazing experience very intense. Several people in that class went on to a professional career. So you know, it was a very high standard. There was a fantastic pianist who I’ve come and reconnected with recently. She’s also in pharma now named Mimi Lee. She was I think, the year so she was class of 91. And so we were paired together, she is an amazing Claire, and I guess she kind of want to sign up for the course, was a bit late. And then I was the lucky recipient of the oh, you know, Mimi need someone to play with. And so we’ll take you into the class. But we we had a good time. And she was my first panelist at Harvard, that I worked with. So I worked with her for the whole year at that in music 180 I do also remember there was a I don’t love modern music, and there was an amazing violinist in the class and she was playing with a pianist. They were very advanced players. And they played something very modern and very atonal and I did not like it at all, they played it through but then beyond Professor Kirschner, started going through it and explaining the music. And it completely changed my my view about that. But the other class then, that I would have to call out would be Helen vendors. poetry class, I think was a poetry survey. But the same thing happened. It was Wallace Stevens, the emperor of ice cream. And I read this, I was like, I totally don’t get this. Like, why? Why did someone write this? And then by the time she was done explaining it, I was like, This is the greatest poem. So I think that’s what, you know, the greatest teachers do they, they really changed her mind about art, and are in the works of art.


Will Bachman  38:37

I love that. Julie, this has been so much fun for listeners that wanted to, you know, find you online. Track, you know, kind of keep up to date with what you’re doing. Where would you point them?


Julie Lin  38:54

Oh, my goodness. Yeah, this whole social media thing is another thing. Um, I mean, I have a LinkedIn profile. I guess that’d be the main place. I do. You know, use the platform, formerly known as Twitter, sometimes. Okay. You had you noticed that that’s how the New York Times was referred to it. I keep


Will Bachman  39:17

wondering how long how long they’re gonna do that. Me too.


Julie Lin  39:20

I had exactly the same thought. So I am also on the platform formerly known as Twitter, but not not super often. I think, I guess LinkedIn. All right.


Will Bachman  39:35

Well, we’ll include your, your LinkedIn profile in the show notes. Julie, this was so much fun hearing about your journey, and your musical career. Thank you for joining.


Julie Lin  39:49

Thank you so much. Take care