Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rueibin Chen performs 'Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini' in Beijing

News by CNA
Taipei , May 3 , 2015

Chinese Austrian pianist Rueibin Chen played Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" with the China National Symphony Orchestra in Beijing in late April, captivating the audience with his impeccable skill and classical Russian flavor.
Chen, who was born to an elementary school music teacher's family in Tainan in 1967 and studied in Austria when he was 13, is the only Asian student of renowned Russian pianist Lazar Berman, whose teacher Alecander Goldenweiser (1875-1961) was a classmate and friend of Rachmaninoff (1873-1943).
Chen's virtuoso performance of the rhapsody magnificently conveyed charm and passion to his audience at the National Centre for the Performing Arts on April 24.
For an encore, Chen played his own condensed version of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 to the passionate applause of the audience.
The melody of the rhapsody, especially the 18th variation, was made popular by the US movie "Somewhere in Time" in 1980.
In 1984, Chen became the youngest winner of the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition in Italy.
Chen said the rhapsody was Rachmaninoff's "most representative work" and "the piece has so many different levels you can savor -- passion, as well as serenity," according to a report on CNTV (China Network Television).
Chen said he gained a deeper understanding and grasp of the work's emotional subtlety as well as the meaning of a pure Russian performance style, from his mentor Berman and studying Rachmaninoff's life with his late teacher.
Chen said his choice of the encore was intended to echo Rachmaninoff's work, so "the whole performance is one hundred percent Russian," which is "a nod to the Russian music maestros and my mentor, Lazar Berman," the CNTV report said.
Ms. Jane Seymour, lead actress in the movie "Somewhere in Time," was in the audience when Chen played the rhapsody in Los Angeles.