Dated: June 30-July 6, 2006
Rueibin Chen, Master Pianist, to Perform July 7 at Disney Concert Hall
LOS ANGELES - Master pianist Rueibin Chen is returning to Los Angeles for a recital debut on Friday evening, July 7 at the new Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Chen, a Chinese–Austrian born in Taiwan, is an internationally renowned pianist with a reputation for technical brilliance and the ability to combine intense energy with his refined sense of touch to rank him among the best in creative and artistic expression.
The Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung called him "one of those geniuses that come along once in twenty years."
A child prodigy, Chen received his first piano lessons at age 5 from his father, and at 10, he was invited to perform with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
He has won eighteen medals including five gold medals in various international piano competitions,
His playing has a surreal quality evoked by a seemingly effortless execution. There is no hint of artificiality, no hint of anything overlooked in his preparation, just a sense that here is a true virtuoso. He has the ability to become one with the essence and intent of the original composition.
Chen was a pupil of the legendary Lazar Berman of Russia who died early last year. Berman was known for his thunderous technique and thrilling interpretation of Liszt and Rachmaninoff. Considering that Chen exhibits the same powerful but controlled qualities--the string of brilliance continues unabated.
In addition, Chen is also known for his lucidity, i.e., his unique ability to make each note lucid and pure.
Chen recently conducted Master Classes in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas to share his knowledge with local students that included pianists at the top of their field.
Mr. Chen answered a series of questions posed by The Epoch Times:
ET: You were able to help the students during your Master Classes, even though many were already advanced in their piano playing skills. Could you please describe your experiences in helping the students?
RC: There is a difference of method that I use in teaching students of different levels. During the Master Classes that I teach, with advanced students for example, I would use different metaphors--I need to work harder on inspiring their imagination; they need to imagine the scenario of the works, to feel its tone, its color. Composers of advanced works ask for deeper understanding of their music, of the nuances and sophistication that simpler pieces do not request.
Metaphors and analogies are not necessary for lower-level students. Also, in terms of techniques, students of advanced levels need more refined instructions that target their specific needs.
ET: Will you be giving more Master Classes in the near future?
RC: Yes on July 2, at 3 pm, at the Chinese Cultural Center in El Monte.
ET: What Master pianists did you learn from and who inspired you to play better?
RC: One of the three teachers I learned longest from was Lazar Berman, the legendary Russian pianist. I was his only Asian student. I almost became a student with another legendary Russian pianist, Sviatoslav Richter. He was kind of too old when I met him and was not able to teach very much.
I feel that what I learned from those great teachers were not piano playing per se, but what is beyond piano. Their life stories are my source of inspirations. Both Richter and Berman endured great pain and hardship in their lives, yet their passion for music persisted and helped them through. That was what made their music special, and touching, at least to me. Some audiences have no clue why their music was so special. That was why.
Lazar Berman was forbidden from playing outside of the then Communist Russia. It was only when he reached his fifties that he was able to get on stage in the United States. It was not fame or money that they were after; but art, and only art. Without such motivation, the art is not pure and the artist is not pure, either. An artist who pursues things other than art is nothing but a label, a hypocrite.
But I know that to be like those great pianists, under the current circumstance, is becoming more and more impossible, with the commercialization and everything. Sometimes I have to capitulate to the commercial pressure and I do hope that I could be pure at other times. Otherwise I would be valueless, with no hope of surpassing those deceased, great masters.
I have to admit that there is no living artist today that I can admire, because they fall short of the high standards left by the forefathers.
Historically speaking, time will be the test to what can stay permanent. Artists of modern times are too busy and always in the predicament of the ideal and the reality; which may not be known by the average audience who love to follow the current trend.
ET: Is there one particular piece that resonates with you; a piece that you feel at one with?
RC: One piece I would like to point out, which is also a piece that I will play for the July concert [Disney Concert Hall and San Diego], is Beethoven's Appasionata.
"Impressive" and "striking" is the word that audiences use in describing their feelings as they listen to this piece. One musician told me that my rendering is the fastest of all the recordings he had ever heard.
As I play, I am not playing the notes, or the keys. Beethoven composed this piece after reading Shakespeare's Tempest. I tried to place myself in the scene of the tempest, imagining myself actually in it, to a degree that the piano keys have disappeared.
Even when I use a lot of pedals, each note I play is lucid, its grain clear and lucid, even to the audience in the far back of the concert hall. Lucidity is what people regard as my uniqueness. One musician friend of mine recalled that once I told my students that they should let audience in the most remote corner hear every note clearly, even the most soft ones.
I don't think I am able to do that purely by techniques---techniques are not sufficient. The power is from an internal mental source. Whether it is the loudest notes or the softest, it should be clear, even to the audience sitting in the far back.
Rueibin Chen, master pianist, returns to Los Angeles at the Disney Concert Hall for a recital debut on July 7. (Dan Sanchez/The Epoch Times)
Rueibin Chen's recital selections for July 7 at the Disney Concert Hall include:
1. Bach-Gounod: Ave Maria;2. Schubert-Liszt: Serenade;3. Beethoven: Sonata in f minor Op57 "Appassionata;"4. Tchaikovsky: The Ballet Suite "Nutcracker" Op.71a for Piano Solo;5. Chopin: Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise Brillante, Op.22.
For ticket information visit Rueibin Chen's website at rueibinchen.net or the Music Center multiple venue website at musiccenter.org/calendar/hp_395.html
---------------by DAN SANCHEZ and MEI ZHOU/ The Epoch Times Los Angeles staff
You can alos see the original and relevant information of Rueibin Chen's reports on The Epoch Times, Please click here.