Tag Archives: 2013

Chenyin Li

Chenyin LiMotivation…

I think there was a time when I realised that playing piano was the best thing I cold do. It is also what fulfils me to the fullest extent. And let’s be honest, with all  brilliant and wonderful piano repertoire it is easy to be tempted. I guess that another aspect is what the stage brings, though sometimes it can be terrifying, it also gives you that rare opportunity to connect with people whom you would never have the chance to interact otherwise. This mutual appreciation makes you feel that you are a part of something great. Finally it is the music itself, as obvious as it sounds, this is what attracts me the most in life.

Do you have a career highlight? 

I hope there is one still yet to come! However few years back playing a solo recital at the Royal Festival Hall in London was a pretty special occasion. And I’m soon to be engaged to play with the Chinese National Symphony Orchestra at the National Grand Theatre located in Tiananmen Square later this year. As a native Chinese living abroad for many years, that is very exciting.

 How did you discover music? 

I think it must have been a gradual realisation over the years, though I was fortunate enough to be admitted to study at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing from a very early age. From there I received the best possible training I could have at the time and working with very inspiring music teachers (Bi Gang Chen, Zhong Hui) who influenced me a lot in deciding to become a pianist.

Influences…

I owe every success to my professors, Tamas Vesmas and Joan Havill, are both fantastic musicians and teachers who came from lineage of eminent music icons: Nadia Boulanger; Louis Kentner; Florica Musicescu (Dinu Lipatti’s teacher) to name a few.

Has Chinese culture and education played a role in your development as a pianist?

Generally Chinese people have a deep-rooted sense of discipline and great working ethos, both qualities paramount to early piano training. And to define what is the Chinese culture it seems a too difficult and large topic. One must not forget, China has a long history of cultural diversity, religions and the fact that several dynasties ruling parties were not Chinese. So it is perhaps not a complete surprise that contrary to what many western people think, there are many thriving Chinese artists working in  the field of traditional Western music nowadays.

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What are your plans for 2013?

I will keep enjoying my collaboration as soloist recording for the music publication ‘Pianist Magazine’; a tour in my home country at the end of the year with other concert activities as usual; and learn more Rachmaninov pieces!

Any advice for young pianists?

Don’t change teachers too quickly or frequently, as it often can be more damaging to a young pianists development. Be persistent, hard-working and always try to better yourself, and be grateful that we are able to pursue what we love to do.

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David Ianni

  The Composer – Part2

Are there any issues in the world of music composition that you feel strongly about?

In my early teens I used to be frustrated that contemporary music apparently had to be atonal and cacophonous to be taken seriously. At first I thought that the musicians and critics who seem to enjoy this kind of music are crazy. Or are they fooling the world? Later I assumed that something was wrong with me, since I simply could not understand the “art” of Stockhausen or Boulez for example. But then I realised that it is not my job to “judge” other people’s music or tastes, but to develop my own style and express my musical, emotional and spiritual values through my music, regardless of the styles that are en vogue.

I remember that getting to know the work of Arvo Pärt was a liberating experience for me during that period. His music helped me to understand that a diversity of musical styles is the new reality of contemporary music. There is still a place and a need for tonal beauty in music. David Ianni – Afterthought – SoundCloud – Listen to David’s work!

Can you tell us more about your new album “Prayers of Silence” that will be released in 2013?

My new album will include 15 piano pieces that I have composed over the last five years. As the title suggests, these are mostly quiet and meditative compositions, which revolve around the notion that the mother of all music is silence. The opening piece is called “Obsculta”, the Latin word for “listen”. Didn’t you once twitter about Alfred Brendel’s astute observation that “listen” and “silent” contain the same letters? Even if it is a coincidence, I feel that there is a strong connection between listening and silence, and they are the foremost requirements for music to exist. My music attempts to offer the listener a moment of inner silence and clarity. At its centre, my “Prayers of Silence” are a musical reflection of the evanescence and preciousness of life. 

Whose work do you admire as a composer and why?

I could name a hundred influential personalities that shaped my musical path, but I will limit myself to three outstanding musicians of our time. Being a composer-pianist, Leonard Bernstein has been a great inspiration for me. His music is complex, well crafted and accessible at the same time. As a performer and teacher, he brought the gift of music to millions of people. Then there is John Williams, who even at age eighty draws one immortal melody after the other from the aether as if he were picking cherries from a tree. I have always loved his music. Third on today’s list is Eric Whitacre. His way to reach out to his audience is quite amazing. Whitacre has done a lot for choral music, one of the purest and most beautiful art forms. Classical music will never be mainstreamed, but it is very important to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

It always makes me happy to see young people being moved by beautiful music. Isn’t it wonderful that music can change a life? Every time a musician touches a soul, there must be an angel in heaven rejoicing and praising God’s glory.

Click here to read Part One of interview 

Want to listen to his music? Check out his YouTube channel here

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