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Ming-Ming Shen

1929 - 2011
Ming-Ming Shen Obituary
Ming-Ming Shen

Valiant, kind-hearted,

full of grace

Ming-Ming Shen, 81, of Ithaca, NY, passed away June 12, 2011. She was born on October 16, 1929, in Shanghai, China, daughter of the late Jien-Chen and Zoen-Yien Tung. One of four musical siblings, all of whom went on to professional careers in music, she came to the United States in 1947. A talented violinist, Ming-Ming attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, studying under Richard Burgin.

Ming-Ming married the late Shan-Fu Shen in 1950, and graduated from the New England Conservatory with a Diploma in Violin the following year. They subsequently moved to Cheverly, Maryland, where Ming-Ming taught violin and continued her studies at the Peabody Conservatory, before settling in Ithaca, New York, in 1961.

Ming-Ming taught privately in Ithaca, establishing a music studio, and teaching violin, viola and piano, as well as Solf?ge. She also enjoyed playing chamber music locally. Her interests extended to early music, where she explored consort music, performing and studying treble viol with gamba virtuoso and pedagogue, John Hsu. Ming-Ming was principal viola for the Cornell Symphony Orchestra for many years. Highlights of her activities there include the Faur? Requiem under Nadia Boulanger in 1962, and the premiere of Karel Husa's Apotheosis of This Earth under the composer in 1972.

In addition to her musical endeavors, Ming-Ming delighted her friends and colleagues with her mastery of classical Chinese cuisine — earning accolades from privileged guests as arguably "the best Chinese cook east of the Mississippi". She traveled extensively with her husband, spending a number of sabbatical years in Z?rich, Switzerland; Paris, France; Vienna, Austria; G?ttingen, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; as well as Taiwan and China. Ming-Ming also enjoyed fashion, and engaged actively in couture and interior design. In the 80's, Ming-Ming branched into real estate, establishing and managing a number of successful commercial holdings in Ithaca.

Ming-Ming is survived by her sister, Kwong-Kwong Ma; brother and sister, Liby and Niby Tung; son and daughter, Hsueh-Yung and Hsueh-Lang Shen; and nephew, David Tung.

A private family memorial is planned to be held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the New England Conservatory, Cornell University, or charity of choice.

Published in Ithaca Journal on June 25, 2011
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