Worbey & Farrell are Steven Worbey and Kevin Farrell….

Who or what inspired you to take up piano, and pursue a career in music?

We’d both say it was really a natural ‘calling’. We’re both from musical families and had a piano in the house. We have similar stories of our parents having difficulty getting us away from the piano. At school neither of us ever went into the playground – we could always be found at a piano somewhere in the music department surrounded by fellow students. A career in music was a happy option. What could possibly be better than doing something you love and being paid for it?

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

We both come from families involved in many aspects of the arts. Kevin’s mother was at the Royal Ballet School and Steven’s grandfather was an accomplished Jazz pianist who toured with a famous dance band. We were both fortunate to be raised with wide a range of great music around us. Steven had inspiring teachers from an early age. Kevin’s college professor Peter Wallfisch was an excellent teacher and rather intimidating but looking back Kevin says he was the most inspiring of them all. Steven’s first Royal College professor was Phyllis Sellick who was wonderful teacher and enormously influential.  He then went on to study with Yonty Solomon and Peter Katin.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

We’re always challenging ourselves with new arrangements. When we first launched our duo, to stand out we included a fair amount of musical comedy. We soon realised that our strengths were really in the music and arrangements so had to make the changes subtly making the emphasis on the music. This lead to more concert engagements.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

We recently recorded and filmed our arrangements of Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. There are a couple of versions of the Bach arranged for four hands on one piano but we thought them too embellished and heavy with not enough colour and contrasting textures that the piece requires being composed for organ. We were inspired to arrange the Gershwin for four hands on one piano as we feel the versions available don’t quite use the piano to it’s full orchestral potential which can mean crossing hands a lot.

Which particular works do you think you play best?

We like to take orchestral works and try and create orchestral sounds on the piano. You could say we like to think of the piano as our very own symphony orchestra. We wouldn’t take a well written sacrosanct piano piece (i.e. Chopin) and arrange it for four hands as it would simply spoil it. With the use of four hands and some clever trickery, it’s amazing that you can make a piano sound like a lush string section, a muted trumpet or like triangles and Glockenspiels.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

We’ve discovered that changing repertoire every season isn’t ideal as some of it can go to waste and not be heard by enough audiences. We now add and take away gradually throughout the year making sure that each work is performed to its best and also gets a good airing. We simply choose music that we love rather than trying to pander to our audiences. It wouldn’t be fun for us to play a work that we’ve chosen just because we think the audience may like it.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

We tend to perform in concert venues and theatres. Concert venues often have wonderful acoustics for the piano but on the flipside they’re not ideal to talk to your audience as your voice gets lost. Conversely playing a piano in a theatre tends to sound very dry but is good for the voice. In those cases we sometimes add a little concert reverb to the piano. Our recent favourite venues were the Dora Soutzker Hall at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the Sejong Centre in Seoul, Korea and the Newbury Corn Exchange as part of the Newbury Spring Festival. This coming November we’ll be performing at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall which acoustically is wonderful.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

There are two – and we have to tell you about both! We were once performing our own Paganini Variations (which we called ‘Deviations on a Caprice’) and both had one of those wonderful and very rare moments of sheer bliss – where we completely lost ourselves in the music and nothing got in the mind’s way. It was what we all strive for. The other moment was when we were performing at the Grassington Festival and during a comedy moment a young boy on the front row burst into laughter and simply couldn’t stop. His father was holding his hand in front of his mouth and had to take him out. We later received an Email from the father thanking us for introducing his boy to music and fun. It was very moving for us.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

There’s lots of talk of ‘making it’ and unfortunately musicians often compare their careers to others’ careers but as far as we’re concerned if you can make a career out of any aspect of music you’re definitely a success.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

We’d say “be yourself”. If that means re-inventing the traditional recital do it. If you love to talk, be funny or tell stories then do it. When a performer enters the stage the audience doesn’t really know if they like you. Why not smile, say hello or chat first. Concerts don’t have to be so glum anymore. We’ve been to some amazing performances recently by world famous pianists that just look so unhappy. There’s no reason why they couldn’t enhance their stage technique a little.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

If we’re still doing what we do now we’d be most happy. Making a good living out of something we love. Sometimes we spend so much time striving for more we forget to enjoy what we’ve got. We’ve come to realise that a moderate amount of ambition is fine.

What do you enjoy doing most?

Aside from the obvious music we enjoy socialising and cooking. We rarely have a night at home and watch very little television. There’s so much going on in the real world such as theatre, concerts, parties, restaurants etc

Worbey & Farrell are internationally acclaimed concert pianists with a wicked sense of humour. They have played with the world’s leading symphony orchestras, achieved over a million hits on YouTube, and entertained in over 150 countries around the globe with their barnstorming blend of sparky comedy and utterly sensational piano playing.

www.worbeyandfarrell.com

A mile or so along the river from where I live in Teddington, SW London, the attractive 18th-century church of St Mary’s in Twickenham sits on a grassy plinth overlooking the Thames. And for the weekend of 10-12 June 2016, it became the home of a new chamber music festival, directed by Emily Pailthorpe of the London Conchord Ensemble.

Regional and local classical music festivals are such a good idea. They take music out of formal metropolitan concert venues and into communities, forging important and lasting connections between musicians, local people and venues, and many attract world class performers, as well as encouraging young musicians. Conchord Festival boasted an impressive roster of performers, including actor Simon Callow and baritone Roderick Williams. I was delighted to attend the Saturday afternoon concert, music for piano duo performed by Alasdair Beatson and Julian Milford.

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The theme of the concert was dance and the connecting thread was Sergei Diaghilev, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, who collaborated most famously with Igor Stravinsky in the staging of The Rite of Spring, the piano 4-hands version of which concluded the concert. The afternoon opened with Debussy’s Prelude à l’Aprés Midi d’un Faun, a symphonic poem which formed the basis of the ballet Afternoon of a Faun, choreogaphed by Nijinsky and staged by the Ballets Russes in Paris in 1912. The piano duo version was transcribed by Ravel and loses nothing of its sinuous lines and erotic textures in the piano reduction. Beatson and Milford’s performance was languorous, nuanced and sensuous, perfect for a humid summer’s afternoon. This was followed by four of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances, a reminder of the popularity of music for piano duo during the nineteenth-century and a foot-tapping musical palette-cleanser before the main event, The Rite of Spring, which followed the interval.

When The Rite of Spring opened in Paris in May 1913 the avant-garde nature of the music and the staging caused a near-riot in the audience. The piece still has the power to shock over 100 years later, with its narrative of savage rituals and human sacrifice. Stravinsky first performed his own four-handed version of The Rite of Spring with Debussy, the arrangement created to accompany rehearsals for the first performance of the ballet. This music was born on the piano, written in a tiny room, so Stravinsky tells us, on an upright piano, and it contains an exhilarating and precarious excitement. Forget the orchestral version: here is a work of raw energy, convulsive rhythms and pagan exoticism, aptly described by Debussy as “a beautiful nightmare”. It remains a vertiginously challenging work for piano duet, straining the medium to its limits. Beatson and Milford rose to the challenge with aplomb, managing pianistic gymnastics with ease and creating a riot of colour, texture, rhythmic drive and narrative. The famous stamped-out chords were percussive and metallic, redolent of heavy machinery, pistons and steam engines. (Let us not forget this piece received its first performances as Europe was preparing for the most mechanised and destructive war in its history.) This was truly an enthralling journey.

Next year’s Conchord Festival takes place from 9-11 June 2017.

The Françoise-Green Duo at St John’s Smith Square, Thursday 31st March 2016

  

The five-concert residency at St John’s Smith Square by the Françoise-Green piano duo is exploring the music of Vienna’s musical landscape through its salon culture, from Mozart and Schubert to Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School. Vienna’s unique system of private and public patronage allowed composers such as Mozart to present their music to a select audience via the salon. For Schubert, who did not have the kind of patronage and support Mozart enjoyed, nor publishers eagerly clamouring for his music, performances within the privacy of his own circle of friends was the only way his audacious music found a truly receptive audience. This salon culture became even more pronounced at the turn of the twentieth century, when Schoenberg and his cohort broke away from the Vienna Tonkunstlerverein and built their own community for the performance of their music outside of the mainstream where much of their music was premiered through private performance societies. The Françoise-Green Duo pay a special hommage to this by performing new works which they have commissioned especially for their residency.

Music for piano duo is often, and mistakenly, regarded as “light” – music to be enjoyed at home amongst friends, and the enduring popularity of music for piano duo is testament to its appeal, variety and inventiveness. Both Mozart and Schubert wrote fine works for piano 4-hands, including the latter’s Fantasie in f minor, D940, arguably the most profound work ever written for this genre.

This particular concert, the third in the series, revealed the contrasting characters of Vienna, from the elegance and wit of Mozart through Schubert’s bittersweet Allegro in A minor ‘Lebenssturme’, D947, to the decadence and eroticism of fin de siecle Vienna of Alban Berg, reimagined by British composer Kenneth Hesketh in his Die letzten Augenblicken der Lulu, and the world premiere of ‘Fable’, a new work by Colin Alexander which was dedicated to the duo.

The Françoise-Green Duo are notable for their confident and convincing handling of contemporary repertoire – one has the sense of two musicians who actively relish the challenges, both technical and artistic, that this music presents – yet their opening piece, the Sonata in F K497, written at the end of Mozart’s life, proved them at home in more traditionally “classical” repertoire. In this sonata, the two pianists are equal players, sparking off one another, and creating witty dialogues interspersed with rich orchestral textures. In the softer dynamic range, the pianists brought a tenderness which immediately shrank the large space of St John’s Smith Square to an intimate salon.

Kenneth Hesketh’s work is both a redaction of Berg’s ‘Lulu Suite’ focusing on the main material in the suite, but also providing a flashback of Lulu’s life in the immediate moments before her death. Soprano Sarah Gabriel’s performance in this work was dramatic and vulnerable, and the combination of spoken word and vocal line, culminating in a full-throated scream signifying Lulu’s death at the hand of Jack the Ripper, was searing. The piano part created an unsettling undercurrent, increasing in urgency towards the tragic denouement.
After the interval came the world premiere of Colin Alexander’s ‘Fable’, a work which fully utilised the fine acoustic of St John’s Smith Square, the resonance of the Steinway D, and the duo’s technical assuredness. At times, the sounds emanating from the piano recalled bells, bassoons, horns and chanting, which built in intensity to create a hypnotic whole. It put me in mind of Somei Satoh’s mesmeric Incarnation II, which uses the resonance of the piano to similar effect.
It’s all too easy to ascribe a certain mindset or state of health to Schubert’s music: his illness, syphilis, and its disturbing and debilitating treatment and side effects are well-documented. Whatever the composer’s mental state in the final year of his life, there is no doubt that this was a period of fervent, boundary-breaking creativity. The ‘Lebenssturme’ (Life’s Storm – a title assigned by the publisher after Schubert’s death) opens with a dramatic motif of forte (check) chords which gives way to an ethereal second subject, which Antoine Françoise seemed to float across the upper register of the piano. It’s a substantial work whose structure hints that Schubert might have had something longer in mind and which demonstrates fully the breadth and daring of his creativity in the year of his life. 

For an encore, the duo played the opening movement of Mozart’s Sonata in C major, K19d (dropped from the original programme better to accommodate the new works) Written when the composer was still a boy, yet already bright with promise, witty, colourful, and elegantly turned by Robin Green and Antoine Françoise.

‘The Viennese Salon’ continues at St John’s Smith Square on 7 April with a rare opportunity to hear Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 arranged for piano four-hands by Alexander von Zemlinsky together with works by Mozart and the world premiere of a new piece by Alissa Firsova. Further information here

Recommended.

Prize Winners at the Royal Overseas League competition and the Schubert International Duo Competition, the Françoise-Green piano duo presents The Viennese Salon – an exciting five-concert residency at London’s St John’s Smith Square dedicated to Vienna’s musical landscape, from the intimate salons of the late 18th century to the private society concerts of the 1900’s.

The duo will perform the complete Mozart piano sonatas for piano duet, a selection of four hands masterworks by Schubert, together with arrangements of the key orchestral pieces of the Second Viennese School: Schoenberg’s two Chamber Symphonies, the orchestral interludes from Berg’s Wozzeck, a new arrangement of the Lulu Suite, as well as Zemlinsky’s epic arrangement of Mahler’s sixth symphony.

To complete this residency, each concert will feature a new addition to the repertoire by young composers Vlad Maistorovici, Christian Elliott, Colin Alexander, Christian Mason and Alissa Firsova.

Full details of the concert series here

Meet the Artist….Robin Green (interview)

York2 is the piano duo of John and Fiona York

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and make it your career? 

John: My mother played quite well, we had a decent upright and the best teacher in Eastbourne lived round the corner. She was recommended to my mother by our piano tuner!

Fiona: My father. He was an extremely talented amateur pianist who was torn between career choices – Law won but he loved seeing me develop into a fully-fledged professional.

Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career? 

F: My first teacher who was taught at Guildhall by Cimbro Martin, who also taught John, who also taught me…! The methods passed on to me are still going strong in my own teaching.

J: All four of my teachers – all very demanding and revealing – and my early, chance discovery of Debussy and French piano music in general which gave me direction for at least ten years at the start of my career.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far? 

J: Doing the Tchaikovsky competition was tough, demanding, horrible and a bit distressing – ultimately pretty pointless, too, considering that the UK government had only just evicted over a hundred spies from London!

F: In the early days, learning the big repertoire and persuading fixers and audiences that they really do want to hear the entire Planets Suite played on one piano!

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of? 

J: The York2 recording of Debussy’s La Mer – and one or two of our many Rite of Spring performances.

F: Of course the above, but also an extraordinary, impossibly fast, brilliant and thrilling four-minute piece called Impulse by Benjamin Wallfisch which he wrote for two pianos and two marimbas. We never actually met the marimba players…

Which particular works do you think you play best? 

F: The big orchestral duet works and, in total contrast, some of the ‘smallest’ salon repertoire such as Dolly Suite by Fauré or Jeux d’Enfants by Bizet which are extremely sophisticated in their own way and ever popular.

J: Those same pieces with York2 – and the Beethoven ‘cello works with Raphael Wallfisch.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season? 

[J and F discuss…] No particular plan – the usual delving into anniversaries perhaps, unusual repertoire perhaps, nice couplings and strong juxtapositions – whatever feels good and is attractive to promoters and audiences.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

J: Like everyone else I’d always say the Wigmore Hall and, more recently, the main Kings Place hall near King’s Cross station. Both are beautiful, sound great and have real atmosphere.

F: The Singing Hall in St.Paul’s Girls’ School is a favourite – [J interrupts:I’d forgotten that one but absolutely agree!”]. It was designed and used by Holst in his role as Director of Music and the acoustic is still wonderful.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

F: To perform – The Rite. To listen to – Brahms 4

J: To perform – La Mer.  To listen to – Bruckner 8, or the entire Ring cycle.

Who are your favourite musicians? 

J: I’d always say one of the great orchestras before any soloist – but I admire some of the great singers – and also pianist Benjamin Grosvenor who has integrity and real class.  I really believe very few other pianists deserve the adulation they get these days – you probably know who I mean!

F: He might say that – I couldn’t possibly comment.

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

F: A particularly bad one was playing Lutoslawski Paganini Variations for two pianos, 20 feet apart, to six people at 11 o’clock at night in the Salzburg Festival and hearing the receding footsteps of one of those six, who turned out to be the janitor.

J: A bad one? – the Greenwich Festival 6-Steinway concert at Eltham Palace years ago, a horrendous, long, difficult, fractious, uncomfortable and very unpleasant experience.

A good one? – York2’s Wigmore Hall recital at my 30th anniversary concert.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians? 

J: To read the score and study the context, not to impose ego or allow ignorance – only then you can allow yourself freedom with complete confidence.

F: To show the musical complexity of your repertoire and not patronise your audiences with over-simplified and obvious renditions.

What are you working on at the moment? 

J: Some enormous cello and piano sonatas for upcoming concerts – and the complete works of Rebecca Clarke and Ernest Bloch for cello.

F: Some tiny, utterly beautiful miniatures for a friend’s Soiree.

[F notes that J is keen to answer all of the questions as follows…]

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

Still strong and still giving concerts – and still enjoying doing it!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

J: Does it exist?  It sounds complacent.  Life should be, and is, a good mix.

Perfect Happiness? 

F chose just one question: A quiet mind – to love and be loved – an inextinguishable sense of humour.

York2John and Fiona York – four hands one piano

 

YORK2 has a reputation as the ‘piano duo with a difference’, gained through husband and wife team John and Fiona’s exploration of larger scale and contemporary scores, alongside the rich and familiar duet repertoire.  

Fiona and John have given countless concerts in the UK, on BBC Radio 3, in Australia, for CBC TV and TV Ontario Canada, on boats on the Great Lakes, at the Salzburg Festival, concertos at the Barbican Centre and at the South Bank in London. 

York2’s 2nd recording of ‘The Planets’ was released in 2010 on Nimbus, coupled with duet music by York Bowen. At that session, they also recorded, on a second disc, Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’, Debussy’s ‘La Mer’ and Ravel’s ‘Rapsodie Espagnole’.  This special repertoire was released in 2010 to critical appreciation and admiration. 

Their earlier recordings on the LondonHall label include minimalist music by contemporary Austrian composer Norbert Zehm, and their first recording (now deleted) of Holst’s ‘The Planets’ was recorded for Black Box in 2001. It was the world première recording of the composer’s own four-hands version and the disc also includes Holst’s complete piano solo works. 

As well as giving concerts, Fiona has been a long-standing teacher at several London schools.  She has worked in the junior departments of the Royal College, Trinity and Guildhall and this year marks her 15th year with the piano staff at St. Paul’s Girls’ School, London.  

John was Professor at Guildhall for 33 years and was Senior Music Head of Department at St. Paul’s Girls’ School where Holst was Director of Music for 20 years in the early 20th century.  During his time at the School, John discovered the long-forgotten four-hands score of The Planets in a cupboard in the room where it was composed, leading to York 2’s re-editing and recording of this great English score.  Tony Palmer, the well-known film director, included them in his Holst bio-pic ‘In the bleak midwinter.’ 

A highly successful and emotional recital of ‘The Planets’, the ‘Rite’ and ‘La Mer’ at London’s Wigmore Hall in 2004 marked the 30th anniversary of John’s début in that hall. Although York 2’s repertoire is so demanding, at only one day’s notice in 2010 John and Fiona gave a recital of ‘The Planets’ and ‘The Rite’ in a major festival in Madrid, to a full house, broadcast live on Spanish radio. 

The Independent and Financial Times reviewers were very enthusiastic –  

“York2 goes stratospheric!” – “the playing was enough to confirm the evening in its ambition, scope and sheer grit as something exceptional, duly exciting a prolonged ovation from its capacity audience”.

 

http://yorkpiano.co.uk

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Bobby Chen (photo credit: Sussie Ahlburg)

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and make it your career? 

When I was 7 years old, my parents moved into a new neighbourhood in a satellite town in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, and I heard some piano sounds coming from just across the street. I went over, met the lady, had a few informal lessons with her, and felt fascinated by the piano. I never had proper lessons with her, but the fascination remained.

Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career? 

Firstly, my parents, who had introduced me to the gift of the music and piano. Second, my first teacher in Kota Kinabalu, who played me a recording by Glenn Gould, and travelled overseas with me for extra tuition. Third, to Geoffrey Smith, who was the Regional Consultant in charge of South-East Asia for the ABRSM in 1991, he suggested that I audition for the Yehudi Menuhin School, and guided me through that process. Lastly, my teachers in the UK, who were Ruth Nye, Hamish Milne and Nikolai Demidenko.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far? 

I can find it easy to lose focus, and to not push myself 100%. This can make me fall away slightly in my pursuit when trying to understand certain works and ways of playing.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of? 

I remembered very fondly: a) touring Britain with Lord Menuhin and the Beethoven Triple Concerto in 1996; b) making my Italian debut recital at the Fazioli Hall in Sacile, Italy in 2011; c) performing at my 4th solo recital at the Wigmore 2011; d) recording an all Prokofiev solo disc for SOMM Recordings in 2009; e) as one of the pianists in the first ever complete Beethoven sonata cycle for South-East Asia in 2008. Also, I am also very proud to have organize my first winter piano course, taking place at the Yehudi Menuhin School. So these were some of my favourite moments!

Which particular works do you think you play best? 

Recently, I have been working a lot on Prokofiev’s piano music. Also on Debussy and Schubert.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season? 

If I play Prokofiev in season 2012-13, it is because in 2010, I started to find his music increasingly fascinating. I find it lovely to explore works in this way.

Tell us a little more about your duo partnership with Douglas Finch. What are the particular pleasures and pitfalls of playing duo repertoire? 

I got to know Douglas many years ago, when I started to play his works. In 2010, I invited him to come to my winter piano course at the Yehudi Menuhin School. After performing a complete Liszt programme with Leslie Howard at the Wigmore Hall in 2011, Douglas and I struck up a piano duo partnership.

With 4-hands, the entire keyboard register can be used, the instrument transformed into this amazing orchestra, with exciting possibilities! One major pitfall is that any minute lapses of concentration from one player can be glaringly exposed!

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why? 

I love playing at the Wigmore Hall, the intimacy there is unique. Also Fazioli Hall, so state-of-the-art, and a gorgeous piano there.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to? 

This season, performing Prokofiev’s and Debussy’s piano music. I love listening to Fischer-Dieskau singing Bach. I love watching ballet at the Royal Opera House.

Who are your favourite musicians? 

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Ferruccio Busoni.

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

Bernard Haitink and the Berlin Philharmonic live at the Proms in 2011. Incredibly awe-inspiring.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

To stay true to your art, and to find all sorts of ways in order to fulfil your musical/artistic ambitions.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I am currently learning the Sonatine by Ravel, Impromptus Op.142 by Schubert, and revising the 4 Chopin Ballades.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time? 

Performing music in public.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Spending time with family and good friends.

What is your most treasured possession? 

My teapot.

What do you enjoy doing most? 

I love watching films in cinema, going to concerts and chatting with interesting people.

What is your present state of mind? 

Fairly good, I think! Although a bit Prokofiev-ian.

Bobby Chen performs duo piano works with Douglas Finch as part of the Bristol International Piano Duo Festival, 7 March 2014, at the University of Bristol. Full details here

Described by International Piano Magazine as: “…an armour-clad player of complete technique,  a thinking musician, a natural Romantic. Young bloods come no better”, Malaysian pianist Bobby Chen studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal Academy of Music with Hamish Milne and Ruth Nye. He burst on the scene in 1996 with a sensational season of concerts, which included a British tour with Lord Menuhin in a performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and a recital at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the South Bank Prokofiev Festival.

Chen has performed under conductors Lan Shui, Mathias Bamert, Maximiliano Valdés, Sir Neville Marriner, Pierre-André Valade, Giancarlo Guerrero and with several orchestras including the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw Sinfonia, Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta.

In recent seasons, venues Chen has played in included Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Singapore’s Victoria Concert Hall, Italy’s Fazioli Hall, Holland’s Hermitage Amsterdam, Poland’s Antonin Palace, Hong Kong’s City Hall, Malaysia’s Petronas Twin Towers, UK’s Purcell Room, Bridgewater Hall, Royal Concert Hall, Cadogan Hall, and Wigmore Hall. He has performed under the special auspices of Australia’s Southern Highlands International Piano Competition, at Brazil’s Musica Nova Contemporary Music Festival, Sweden’s Lidköping Music Festival, Ireland’s Music for Wexford and Wicklow Arts Festival, UK’s Worcester Three Choirs Festival, Guildford International Music Festival and Marlborough College Summer School. He has recorded six commercial discs, and broadcast live for UK’s Classic Fm, Hong Kong’s Radio Television Hong Kong and USA’s Pianoforte Chicago.

Chen was awarded ‘The BrandLaureate – Country Branding Award’ from The Asia Pacific Brands Foundation, appointed a tutor at UK’s Chethams International Piano Summer School, elected an Associate of London’s Royal Academy of Music (ARAM), and runs the Overseas Malaysian Winter Piano Academy (OMWPA) at the Yehudi Menuhin School.