Tuesday, March 3, 2015

pianist Rueibin Chen honored by Beverly Hills for his performance in the city - Interview by Taiwan News




How Taiwanese pianist Chen Ruei-bin has struck a chord with Hong Kong - Interview by South China Morning Post《南華早報》


Vienna-based Taiwanese pianist Chen Ruei-bin during his most recent visit to Hong Kong




 Pianist Chen Ruei-bin performs at a recital.

I was recently interviewed by South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Celebrating its 115th this year .
我最近接受香港南華早報的採訪。《南華早報》將於今年慶祝創刊115週年,是香港最廣泛流通及最備受尊崇的英文報章,以權威、具影響力及獨立的報導而享譽盛名。

Interview by South China Morning Post《南華早報》
Monday, 26 January, 2015

How Taiwanese pianist Chen Ruei-bin has struck a chord with Hong Kong
Chen Ruei-bin said thank you through music for city's response to tragedy in his native Taiwan
The exaggerated stage etiquette of mainland pianist Lang Lang has found an antithesis in his Taiwanese counterpart, Chen Ruei-bin.
The Tainan-born musician could be just as bombastic on the keyboard. But his diffidence in telling how Hong Kong played a role in his music-making - from here to Los Angeles, where he returns for a concert this week - was like an anticlimax to his piano forte.
"You may not know that Kaohsiung is the city where many Hong Kong people emigrated to after 1997," said while in town recently. "I always hear people speak Cantonese in the subway there."
In fact, ties were so close that donations and relief supplies from Hong Kong were among the first to arrive in the southern Taiwanese city shortly after massive gas explosions last summer that killed 32 people.
To express his gratitude, Chen agreed to perform a concert, Pray for Kaohsiung, for a Hong Kong audience in November, only to find the city engulfed in Occupy Central, and the venue, the City Hall concert hall, right in the middle of the protests.
"It was a concert to say thank you to Hong Kong for the timely subsidies to Kaohsiung after the explosions," the soft-spoken, Austria-based pianist recalled.
The piano recital, he said, was put together on a tight schedule. Both the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and RTHK helped by allocating a venue slot on November 4 and promoting the concert on air, respectively.
"It was no easy thing to get a full-house audience during the Occupy Central protests because of the inconvenient traffic conditions," he said. "I was especially surprised that officials from both sides of the strait, Hong Kong and Macau, were in the audience. Hong Kong is truly unique as the platform for cultural exchange in the greater China region."
The programme began with Ave Maria, a soul-searching classic arranged by Charles Gounod from Johann Sebastian Bach's scores through which Chen wanted to convey tranquillity to the city. The peace motif continued with the next piece, Love River by Taiwanese composer Lu Liang-hui, which Chen arranged into a piano solo for the Hong Kong premiere.
"The Love River is a landmark of Kaohsiung city and it was a pleasant surprise that the piece was very well received by mainland officials, who invited me to perform at future cultural exchanges in China," he said.
Chen is equally versatile in performing another river work, the boisterousYellow River Piano Concerto, which features such revolutionary tunes as The East is Red and The Internationale in the climaxes.
This piece took him to the opening of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai - and then to Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles last summer, in front of an outdoor audience of more than 10,000.
There, he performed with Perry So, a conductor from Hong Kong who conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
At the end of this week, Chen will return to Los Angeles to deliver a pre-Lunar New Year programme at the Wallis Annenberg Centre for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. "It will be a new experience for me to play famous folk tunes from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, such as the much beloved Jasmine Flower, for piano and Chinese traditional instruments, including my own arrangements," he said.
"If I could get Under the Lion Rock into the programme, that would put Hong Kong into a concert about the greater China region," he laughed.


Music is the key -- Interview by China Daily News 《中国日报》



In my recent interview with China Daily, China’s only national English language newspaper, I shared my passion for music.
在近期与《中国日报》的采访中, 我很荣幸与记者分享了我对音乐的热爱。《中国日报》创刊于1981年,是中国的国家英文日报.


Music is the key

Interview by China Daily News 《中国日报》
2015-01-23

Rueibin Chen has given piano recitals across the world - from Moscow to Los Angeles. But his heart still beats for people from Chinese culture to whom he would like to pass on his legacy.
The internationally-acclaimed pianist Rueibin Chen has always believed in the overarching importance of music.

"Music is my life, my passion, my destiny," he said in Hong Kong recently before catching aplane to Los Angeles for his next performance.

Chen is a much sought-after performer and composer. He has won numerous awards andaccolades, proof of his love for the piano, which perhaps is matched only by his passion forcharity.Well dressed, but not extra vagantly, Chen wears a constant smile on his face.

Born in Tainan City in southern Taiwan, Chen was introduced to classical music by his father, anelementary school teacher who taught and loved music. "My whole family is musical," Chen says. "There was a piano at home before I was even born."

Chen's father bought the 120-year-old vintage piano with an ivory keyboard third-hand.
"They stopped making that kind of piano a long time ago," Chen says. "It means so much to me that I couldn't give it away to any museum."

He started taking piano lessons at the age of 5 from his father and uncle, who had won a pianochampionship in Taiwan. Chen was expected to practice four hours every day.
The lessonswould be recorded to be reviewed by his strict father after dinner.
Learning to play the piano was more difficult when Chen, was a child. It was hard to buyrecords then, so he would go to the city with his father on a motorcycle to find vinyl records of Beethoven compositions.The lessons he received were often erratically scheduled. "My uncle was living in the northernpart of Taiwan.

He would come down to my house once every six months to teach me somebasic(piano lessons), and I would write down notes and practice for half a year," Chen says.
At 6, the child prodigy won his first piano competition in Taiwan, playing Beethoven's pianosonata Pathetique.

At 10, he made his debut as a concert pianist with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra. Three years later, he was training at the Vienna Conservatory under master teacher Dianko Iliew, theyoungest student in his class.

A world apart

In Vienna, Chen devoted all his time to practicing piano and going to the opera. He lived in as habby building with no elevator, and a common toilet,
as this was where neighbors would notcomplain about his constant practicing.

As he could only afford the cheapest standing tickets, hewould stand listening to aconcert or an opera for hours together, completely lost in the music.

"Being a true music fanatic, I went to almost 100 opera performances, " he says." I was amazedbecause it was impossible at the time to have such access to classical music in Taiwan or even(elsewhere in Asia)."

After graduating with a diploma in piano performance with the highest marks, he continued tostudy under maestro Arie Vardi at the Hannover Hochschule fuer Musik, Theater und Medien and received the soloist's examination award.

Later he studied with the world-renowned Russianpiano virtuoso Lazar Berman, as his only disciple from Asia.

"It is very important to understand the Western culture before you can perform their art," he says. "Your audience can tell whether you have an understanding of their culture and music."

Chen has performed around the world, from the Americas to Europe and Asia, and amazes his audience each time.

"I have audiences leaving messages on my fan page saying that they thought I was Russian inmy previous life and that my soul was Russian," Chen says, laughing. "Some ladies fromMoscow told me they were so impressed that I spoke their musical language so well.

"When I play, I put myself into the time, the weather, the atmosphere the music describes."
Chen has won many international piano competitions and awards such as the Boesendorferprize in Vienna. He has been named Best Young Artist by Taiwan's "minister of culture", andwon the Best Prize for Contributions to Music at the Salzburg International Music Festival, and the Albert Roussel Prize in Paris.

The beauty of giving

For all his achievements, Chen remains modest.
"I don't have a definition of success. I don't know if I'm successful yet," he says with a laugh.
"I never thought of having audiences enjoy my performances as being successful but it, indeed,has always been one of the driving forces of my entire career."

When he is not performing, Chen conducts master classes in places like the New England Conservatory in Boston and the Master Player InternationalMusic Academy in Lugano,Switzerland. He wants to pass on what he has learned, "especially (to) students coming from Chinese culture".
Charity is another of Chen's passions. "If I wasn't a pianist, I would have worked in charity forsure," he says.

He holds free concerts for the underprivileged whenever he can. He once put 200 wheelchairs in the VIP area of a venue to make sure those in the audience with special needs could enjoy his music.

In 2012, Chen organized the first "National Piano Competition for Disabled Youngsters" inTaiwan. The winners performed with him before an audience of about 2,000. "I want to let themknow that everyone is entitled and able to enjoy music,"
he says.
Every year he takes time off from his grueling performance schedule "to create new music". Inrecent years, Chen has done a lot of collaboration and premiering of new solo and pianoconcerto works in addition to his solo recitals and orchestral performances of classical repertoire.

"My father wanted me to become a teacher like him," says Chen. "Now I've proved that I chosethe right way for myself and they're very proud of me."

Lunar New Year Celebration with Artist Rueibin Chen



It was so great meeting the very stylish reporter Ms Joyce who is a classical pianist and jazz musician by training. See her report on CNN (1) :

Lunar New Year Celebration with Artist Rueibin Chen
Posted by CNN ,February 17, 2015 | Beverly Hills, California
I had the unique opportunity to interview world renown artist and pianist Rueibin Chen best-selling classical recording artist.
Mr. Chen was performing shortly after I interviewed him with L’Ensemble du Ciel playing Chinese instruments. He was the featured performer for the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Lunar New Year Celebration for The Year of the Sheep.
I am a trained classical pianist and jazz saxophone player myself and I have a great respect for people that play and for those that play as well as he does.
He grew up as child prodigy and studied in Vienna. When he was making his debut with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra at age ten, I was learning to play the piano and had surpassed playing chopsticks. I started playing when I was 9 years old, he started playing when he was 3 years old, which explains why he is being interviewed.
Today he performed in a unique program where East meets West utilizing Chinese instruments. Despite the fact that I am Chinese, I am unfamiliar with the instruments of an erhu, pipa and gaohu but am familiar with a Chinese bamboo flute.
He is a music lover. His passion for music is evident when you speak with him and even more so when you hear him perform. He told me, he loves to play, to perform the music for an audience. To him “music is the best language for me, to communicate with people.”
Chen’s most prized prize…. in Israel, Tel Aviv, Israel from the former president of Israel, who had just himself received the Nobel Prize. “My great memory is because I received the prize from this great person.”
He would like the audience to remember him as an artist, not as a pianist. “I come to stage to make art.” R

Monday, February 16, 2015

Interview with CNN before the concert.


Interview with CNN before the concert.

Lunar New Year Concert in Beverly Hills: The Year of the Sheep




Lunar New Year Concert in Beverly Hills: The Year of the Sheep

Interview by World Journal 世界日報
January 29, 2015,

On Saturday, January 31, 2015, the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California is celebrated the Lunar New Year with an exclusive “East meets West” concert featuring world-renowned pianist Rueibin Chen and L’Ensemble du Ciel. Chen was on the piano with four young and illustrious Chinese instrumentalists performing Pipa, Gaohu, Erhu and Chinese Bamboo Flute.
International artists performed a Chinese classical and traditional folk program to celebrate the Lunar New Year – The Year of The Sheep, including world-renowned pianist Rueibin Chen, who was the inaugural soloist at The Wallis in sold-out performances..
....The concert began with a solo performance by Chen that featured, among other pieces, an excerpt from the Yellow River Concerto, the most well known classical Chinese piece and a specialty of Chen’s. He then joined L’Ensemble du Ciel for a performance of traditional and folk music from various Chinese ethic regions, featuring the world premiere of several new musical arrangements.

Monday, February 2, 2015

It was a great honor to receive a certificate of proclamation from Mayor Bosse of Beverly Hills.



We played football at the beginning of the kids concert! Humm... more difficult than the piano... It was a great honor to receive a certificate of proclamation from Mayor Bosse of Beverly Hills.

學生音樂會前, 試一下美式足球... 可能比鋼琴難... 十分榮幸得到 Beverly Hills 市長的感谢狀 - 我在當地的文化工作!感恩!