2012 First Prize Recipient
What is your first memory of playing the piano?
My first memory of playing piano is quite fuzzy now; some early memories come from the home videos that show me playing and singing on the piano—wearing a tutu and a crown—improvising left hand harmonies to a familiar tune. I demanded my mom to announce my “appearance” before a crowd of imaginary audience, and I did many curtsies for my audience before sitting down on the piano bench. The memories are definitely full of sweetness.
What (or whom) would you say is your biggest inspiration when playing the piano?
I find it difficult to choose only one thing or one person to account for my immense inspiration when I play music. Many thoughts come to my mind and give me an inspiration for what “story”, or images to put behind the music. Sometimes, I play and think about how the composers might have felt when they were composing the piece, and I try to conjure up that emotion and try to convey them on the keyboard. At other times, the music that I play provokes images from my life experiences—love or resentment, happiness or sadness, ecstasy or rage, peace or turbulence. This ability gives me a voice to communicate my feelings through music, which in turn inspire me to immerse into the world of music more.
Why do you think competitions are useful for young pianists such as yourself?
Competitions motivate me to study and finish learning a piece. Competitions serve as events in which I can meet other young pianists who share with me the same passion. Some of them have become my good friends. Of course, I sometimes get disappointed when the results come out, but many other times I get inspired just by listening to other competitors. Some competitions, such as the Stony Brook International Piano Competition, allow the competitors to talk to the judges after the results are announced. This is a rare opportunity for me to learn from excellent musicians who have much more experience than I do. I make use of their advice and work to improve the areas I had trouble with or could do better.
What are your career aspirations or plans for the future?
My career plan for the future is to become great classical concert pianist and composer. My main goal in performing would be to spread the understanding and passion of music to the people all around the world. I would love to incorporate my own composition into my performance program too. I compose now almost every day; the musical ideas keep flowing into my head. I love the idea of adding more to the beautiful classical music for the world with my originality.