At other concerts I have attended, the soloist never speaks from the stage. Why do you speak to the audience during your concerts?
Anyone who has attended a concert of mine can attest to my strong belief in tearing down the “fourth wall,” that imaginary wall that separates the performer from the audience. I believe this wall has contributed to the elitism associated with classical music, separating the sophisticated in-the-know crowd with . . . well, just about everyone else who cannot tell the difference between a legato from a portato. The future of classical music cannot continue on this path but instead must aim to make music relevant and understandable to the new generation of concert-goers. And that’s the very reason why I speak to the audience during my concerts, to demonstrate to them that classical music is comprised of the very elements that make us who we are: love, joy, sorrow, temptation, triumph and all the other facets that define the human experience.
Who is your favorite composer?
This is a difficult question. Who can summarize over three centuries of timeless works of genius and find that one composer who far surpasses all others? It’s a daunting task. My favorites have changed through the years. At one moment in my life, I was crazy about Beethoven, and then I had a period where all I wanted to listen to was Bach. But right now, the composer who I feel speaks to me on the deepest level is Debussy. I find myself drawn into the ethereal landscapes painted by the kaleidoscopic sounds of his music.
How many hours do you practice?
This is the question I’m asked most often. It’s always funny when I get this question because as far as I can remember, I’ve never actually sat down and counted the number of hours I practice. I simply practice until I am tired or until I finish my goal for the day. There are times in my life where finding time to practice required extra planning and organizing. With the heavy load of AP classes in high school or final exams during college, I learned to use my time wisely and practice efficiently during a limited time. In short, practicing varies every day, but if I had to put a number to it, I would say 4-6 hours.
When did you know you would become a pianist?
I never knew a time when I wasn’t a pianist. It was very much a profession that chose me. My two older brothers both played piano growing up. Thanks to their daily practicing, I found my perfect secret hiding place as a child: the space underneath the pianos. I loved how the boom of the bass notes made my stomach rumble and how the sounds enveloped me and hid me away from the world. It was instantly captivating and was probably the first step on my musical journey. I was only 3 years old at the time, and my mom had a difficult time finding a teacher who would take a student that young. I eventually started lessons at 4 years old, and as they say, the rest is history…
What do you do when you’re not practicing?
I have two great passions in my life: music and food. Thankfully, they actually go hand in hand. To me, a deliciously composed dish has a lot in common with a beautiful symphony, both displaying the ultimate combination of notes, nuances and textures. I grew up in a family where eating was a high priority and enjoying delicious, high-quality food was the norm at mealtime. While others eat to live, we most definitely live to eat. If you don’t find me practicing, I’ll most likely be exploring a new restaurant or whipping up a multi-course gourmet meal for friends and family.
Who took the photos on this website?
My wonderful, brilliant, and devoted husband. He has an uncanny eye for beautiful images. Armed with his camera and HD video recorder, Irvin has never missed a concert or rehearsal and has documented everything. Without him, I wouldn’t have all these gorgeous photos which you’ll find throughout this website.
Where can I buy your CD?
I get asked this question time and time again after a concert. Currently, I’m working on recording a CD of the complete music of Claude Debussy. I find his music exhilarating, sensuous, thoughtful and transcendent. I also feel that I have something unique to offer, something that I really haven’t heard in any recent recording. I’ll be posting more details about the recording on this website soon.
Who made this website?
This website was a product of lengthy email exchanges, late-night conversations, supportive and creative friends, delicious home-cooked food and a search for a missing pet turtle. The project was spearheaded by my great friend, Roger Hu, who is like the little brother I always wish I had. The graphic designer was Natasha Wu and the web designer was Eric Trinh, incredibly gifted artists who were able to encapsulate who I am within the pages of this website, not a small feat. And of course, many thanks to my husband Irvin who was my aesthetic eye during the whole project.
Website design by Natasha Wu and Eric Trinh.
Photography by Irvin E. Tyan.
Landing page video produced by Dare Dreamer Media.