Joy of Music Festival 2015, Chopin, Piano, Guitar, Hong Kong, Classic Music   Joy of Music Festival 2015, Chopin, Piano, Guitar, Hong Kong, Classic Music
Joy of Music Festival 2015, Chopin, Piano, Guitar, Hong Kong, Classic Music Joy of Music Festival 2015, Chopin, Piano, Guitar, Hong Kong, Classic Music
Chopin, Joy of Music Festival, Music Festical, Piano, Guitar, Music Competition
Chopin, Joy of Music Festival, Music Festical, Piano, Guitar, Music Competition

 

The “YOUNG TALENT” Series

The Chopin Society of Hong Kong, throughout its twenty years history, has supported local artists through scholarships, the funding of their studies in Hong Kong and overseas and by presenting them to public recitals in Hong Kong and in other countries as well as recording them for the Society’s record label The Alpha Omega Sound.

Starting with the Joy of Music Festival 2015, the Society is implementing an innovative programme for our young artists.

Audiences in general are always eager to attend presentations of artists who have already carved a place in their performing careers, and the Society’s presentations are no exception in acknowledging and trying to fulfill these expectations. The Society is, of course, very proud to present to the public in Hong Kong great artists who have gone through that long and arduous path until they are acknowledged and their presentations are eagerly awaited by the audiences.

Undoubtedly, a very special talent and a very strong self-discipline are essential ingredients in managing to go through this path. But there are many factors that contribute positively or negatively to the building of the career of a performing artist. Some artists will manage to overcome all obstacles and continue all through their lives in this voyage of discovery. Others will be forced to choose alternative paths in their lives. Who knows? Only time can tell!

The Chopin Society would like to offer our audiences the opportunity to listen to some of those promising, budding young artists who, in general, given their young age, have not yet had the chance to be presented in front of an unfamiliar audience and to perform in a big concert hall.

(Incidentally - people are usually familiar with opening, warm-up or supporting acts that perform at a concert before the main or featured act is presented. The use of warm-up acts is a general practice in “pop concerts” but it is not something that has been practiced in the more conventional format of classical music presentations.)

With this in mind, we have asked one of Hong Kong’s leading artists and doyenne of piano teachers, who has been so generously offering the Society her contribution as artistic advisor for so many years, Prof. Eleanor Wong, to identify some of these young promising artists and offer them the opportunity to play for five to ten minutes only, in the City Hall Concert Hall, in front of a large audience, and inspired by the fact that their playing will be followed by a full performance by established artists who are an example to be followed.

Their appearance is not there to offer opportunity for comparisons or criticisms, nor in any way, is their presence to detract from what follows after their brief appearance, the performances of fully seasoned and mature artists. But their presence is a salute to these young talents and it is the Society’s way of giving them the chance to share briefly the limelight with their older and far more experienced colleagues.

While preparing the presentation of the ‘Young Talent’ Series, Andrew Freris, Chairman of the Chopin Society of HK, put the following questions to Prof. Eleanor Wong. Her answers were the following:
   
Question 1
As a teacher with decades of experience, especially with very young pianists, which would you consider to be the most common musical characteristic of these children, other than sheer technical ability?
   
Eleanor:
  hey all have the love and enthusiasm for music, keen ears to distinguish difference of sound, good sense of  rhythm, emotional involvement with music, ability to communicate with sound, ability to persevere and concentrate.
   
Question 2
These very young kids (aged 7, 8, 9...) have no experience of life or of music for that matter, so what can they bring “to the table” and offer to the listener other than their technical ability?
   
   
Eleanor:
  They can bring to the audience their own imagination, their own stories, their colors, their own emotions, through their ability to make musical lines, difference in dynamics and use of timing..., but of course those are all part of technique.
   
   
Andrew also put the following questions to Ilya Rashkovskiy, Jinsang Lee and Giuseppe Andaloro, first prize winners of each of the three Hong Kong International Piano Competitions,
2005, 2008 and 2011 respectively. These were their answers:
   
Question 1
At what age did you start feeling conscious about your musical ability and how did this express itself? Playing music, thinking about music, feeling music?
   
Ilya
  My mother was a piano teacher, so my musical ability was discovered at an early age.
At 5-6 years old I played piano almost every day, and I liked it.
   
Jinsang
  I was a very shy boy when I was a small kid. If people asked me to play something, I felt really shy. But when I was 15, when I went to music high school, I didn’t feel shy any more, and started to enjoy playing for people who wanted to listen to me. Since then, I believe that my music can make people happy.
   
Giuseppe
  I began approaching music at a very young age, but started to study piano at the age of 8. After few months of practicing, the very same year (august 1990), I had the chance to perform for the first time in front of an audience of approximately 2500 people. This was in the main square of the small village where I spent my childhood, in Delia (Caltanissetta province, in the middle part of Sicily, my native island). I do remember I played easy works by Schubert and Beethoven, and will never forget the magic and “scary” feelings at that time. Anyway, that night, I had also a feeling that music and piano were going to be part of my life.
   
Question 2
Were you fully aware that you were different from other children or from your companions at school? In which way did YOU think you were different?
   
Ilya
  Every person is different, but I never thought that I was especially different.
From the age of 10, I was already surrounded by people of my age or older, who were also studying music.
   
Jinsang  
  Actually, I didn’t like my friends to think of me as: “ah…, the boy who plays piano.” My mother was a table tennis player and had a ping pong club. She made a small room in one corner of the club and put a grand piano for me to practice. My friends played ping pong and I played the piano. It was a weird ping pong club with classical music. But, through this, I could keep playing while being with my friends (of course, we also played ping pong together) and my mother could also watch me while she ran her business at the club. 
   
Giuseppe
  I remember noticing differences between me and the other kids at the local piano school - the only one in that village and where there was only one piano teacher - in my “fastness” in learning the notes and, most of all, in my ability to recognize the correct notes by hearing them, without looking at the keyboard. I started to realize having the so-called “perfect pitch” at 5, when my sister and I were playing with the old piano at home, using it “as a toy”, but there has been a long way ahead to improve it.
Yes, I was definitely different from my school mates as well. I really felt as if I had not many things to share with them since my focus was on music all the time, I was not feeling comfortable or happy with them since their areas of interest were in other various subjects which did not really interest me. Even early on, at elementary school, the majority of my school mates were making fun of me, considering me too “serious and complicated”, something which is totally understandable for me now.
   
Question 3
Giving “career advice’ to very young talented children might be irrelevant or inappropriate when they are 9 and 10 years old! But talking as a friend to them, what would be the single thing that you would wish to share with them from your own experience as a talented child?
   
Ilya
  When you want to learn a musical instrument, spend just some time at actually practicing, and more time at studying symphonic music, opera, all kinds of scores and art in general to find inspiration and brighten your imagination. I would also recommend playing chamber music from early age.
   
Jinsang
  It is not just about making music for the sake of it. Try to find JOY in music! , joy in practicing, joy in learning the musical language, joy in performing. I don’t tell the young talents to just try to play well, but to enjoy playing.  Even when their playing is not rich or wise, it doesn’t matter. “Joy” is a much more significant value for young pianists. 
   
Giuseppe
  I believe that each one of us is the “product” (perhaps it is not nice to call it so … the “result” maybe...) of all the facts and circumstances which surround each individual, a lot of which cannot “be chosen”: the place where you are born, your parents, your education …, even the food and the climate have dramatic influences on each person affecting its development and growth.
The great music of the past was conceived in a totally different condition of mankind: it has to be perceived, thought of and understood by “framing it” within the period in history to which it belongs, taking into account all aspects concerned: social, political, cultural, etc.
Even considering the incredible changes the world has undergone in the last decades, I would always recommend the youngest generations to experience music under all forms of expression as much as they can and enlarge their horizon of interests as much as possible.
Do not limit yourself to the piano, do not just listen to piano music and do not just listen to the fashionable “media stars” of today.
Thanks to modern technology we can have access to an infinite number of files and to an enormous source of knowledge (books, scores, recordings) something which was unthinkable to get so easily only 20 years ago. I recommend using the technology available to us now to find out what has been done by the great masters in the past. But then …, forget it and begin your own search … explore!
   

 

 

 
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