Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Central News Agency (2011,3,15):Taiwanese pianist returns home for recitals

Taiwanese pianist returns home for recitals 2011/03/15 19:45:42 Taipei, March 15 (CNA) World renowned Taiwanese-Austrian pianist Rueibin Chen has returned to Taiwan for three solo concerts in which he will perform some of the world's best known Russian ballet suites, the organizers said Tuesday.“For a pianist, reworking the much-loved orchestral scores for keyboard in a concert setting is a great challenge, " Chen said at a press conference in Taipei. "But if the pianist plays really well, listeners will find greater enjoyment in the piano recital than in a 90-member orchestra performance.”In the three recitals that will be held in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung March 20, March 25 and Apr. 6, respectively, Chen will perform piano transcriptions of Russian ballet music such as Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Ballet Suite, Op. 75.The program will also include Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker from the Ballet Suite Op.71a, Stravinsky's Three Movements from Petrushka Ballet Suite, Rachmaninoff's 18th Variation from Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and Chopin's Nocturne in C minor, Op.48 No. 1 and Barcarolle in F Sharp Major, Op.60.Chen told reporters he had been a big fan of Russian ballet since his teenage years, and later when he began to practice ballet score transcriptions for piano solos, he realized how talented the Russian composers really were.When he was much younger, he said, his playing of Russian music was focused more on technique, how fast his fingers could move on the piano. But as he matured, he began exploring ways of interpreting the distinctive characteristics of the Russian people and their music, he said."Russian music is about sharp contrasts and intense emotions," he said. "It's not just about presenting the electric power from within the pieces."Chen, born in Tainan in 1967, began learning piano at the age of five under the tutelage of his school teacher father.At the age of 13, Chen went to Vienna, Austria on a state-funded scholarship and later obtained Austrian citizenship in 1999.He is the only known Asian follower of the late legendary Russian pianist Lazar Berman, who was famous for his thunderous technique and thrilling interpretations of Liszt and Rachmaninoff."I think I am now fully capable of portraying the distinctive flavor of Russian scores," Chen said.The pianist has won 18 medals in various international competitions and now spends