Ting Chia Hsu was the 2014 recipient of the Emerging Artists award held in Sydney at our Willoughby showroom. Here he chats with Anita Levy.
What does winning the 2014 Emerging Artists Award mean to you?
Firstly I would like to thank Theme and Variations Piano Services for giving us, the young musicians in Sydney, a platform to present ourselves. Most of us have been locked up in a room with a piano for more than ten years, and it is very important for a growing musician to have the opportunity to perform on stage, to experience sharing music with our audience.
I was studying in the United States before coming to Sydney. Everything is still fresh for me here in Australia, so I am very fortunate to meet a new audience through Emerging Artists!
How did you start playing the piano?
When I was about eight, I started playing the piano. I was mostly influenced by my older brother, who was practising the piano every day for hours; and he could listening to classical music for hours too, even at the age of ten. The entire house was always full of music, so I guess it was going to be hard for me not to get involved with piano.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in your life?
I think so far in my life, there have been so many people who have been inspirational to me not only in music, but in life! I will always be very thankful to all of my piano teachers and to my parents. Music is beautiful: but it is certainly not easy to make it your career. It requires lots of solitude in a practice room, courage and confidence to present yourself on stage.
Who would you consider your musical role models?
I was very lucky to meet Ivo Pogorelich, who was my teacher’s friend and also her teacher. Pogorelich gave me a lot of ideas and inspiration in performance.
Which pieces did you choose to play in your performance, and why?
I played Liszt’s Don Juan. It was a transcription by Franz Liszt from the Mozart opera ‘Don Giovanni’.
I love this piece. It’s very dramatic, and emotional. It is very difficult to play and I like the challenge.
Do you intend to study in Australia or look to go abroad ?
I am happy to have Dr Rickard-Ford as my piano mentor. I am already a grown musician, so I need someone who inspires me, to give me good ideas in music and help me to understand the music in a meaningful way, rather than telling me what to do exactly in every single measure in the piece. Dr Rickard-Ford shares good concepts in music with me, and he always respects me for my thoughts and interpretations. He helps me to become better, instead of changing me to a different person. Every pianist must have his own character, his own individual thinking.
Right now I am doing my graduate study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, but I will go abroad for music festivals every year!
What music are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, I am working on a few works such as Schumann Kreisleriana, Brahms Intermezzi, Rachmaninoff Concerto No 3. I am working on developing myself into a more mature musician, so the pieces I am working on right now are mostly challenging intellectually. Hopefully my hair won’t turn white soon from thinking too much.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I already have competed in a few international piano competitions in Europe, winning a few prizes. Before I get to thirty, I will enter as many competitions as I can, to meet the great pianists and juries in the world.
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Ting Chia Hsu, has been studying piano performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under the guidance of the Chair of the Piano Unit, Dr Paul Rickard-Ford.