Renowned pianist Dr. Chia-Ying Chan hosts guest masterclass

Dr. Chia-Ying Chan playing piano. Courtesy / Community Center for the Arts

Dr. Chia-Ying Chan playing piano. Courtesy / Community Center for the Arts

Jenny Adkins

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance welcomed Dr. Chia-Ying Chan to Grand Valley State University. Chan is an active soloist and chamber pianist who has given solo performances and recitals across the globe. 

Dr. Chia-Ying Chan, originally from Taiwan, is known to bring passion, creativity and vibrancy in her performances, as she’s performed in Europe, Spain, the Carnegie Weill Hall (New York), and has recently been invited to perform at the Wiener Saal Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. 

Chan has been invited to attend masterclasses and festivals with iconic masters such as John Perry, Robert McDonald, and Julian Martin. 

Dr. Chan showcased and performed a recital alongside Dr. Gary June, clarinet professor for the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. During Chan’s time on campus, students within the department had the opportunity to perform their work for her. 

“Master classes are along the lines of open lessons,” said Assistant Professor of Piano and clarinet professor Sookkyung Cho. “While she was on campus, we had our students play for her in a masterclass so they are able to gain more insights on the pieces they are currently working on.”

This was Chan’s first time visiting Grand Valley, and the overall outcome was for every student to walk away with a more advanced understanding of recitals and performing as a whole.

“Having guest artists perform for our students and work with our students is always beneficial for our students because they get to hear high-level performances (in guest recitals) and learn from different perspectives on the same pieces (in masterclasses),” Cho said. 

Dr. Chia-Ying Chan made her orchestral debut in 2006 with the National University of Tainan (NUTN) Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 1, and received an Exceptional Merit Award from NUTN in 2007. John Frayne, reporter from the News-Gazette wrote her most current review and stated, “Chan impressed me with her fluent technique and urgent phrasing, and she interacted expertly with the well-performed and well-conducted accompaniment of the Sinfonia (Beethoven).” Chan was also praised for her “beautiful sweeping musical gestures” by the American Prize.

“Students learned the inner workings of piano-playing and looked forward to listening to their fellow peers and Dr. Chan’s insights,” Cho said.

Chan is currently a member of Amosa Duo with professor June and is “devoted to bringing the best of the vast clarinet and piano repertoire to the concert stage.”

The program for the evening included four pieces such as Tchaikovsky’ April (Snowdrop) from The Seasons by Katie Markus, Brahms’ Intermezzo op. 117 no. 2 by Mary Frances Eshleman, as well as Chabrier’s Bourrée fantasqueby Yushan Ying, and Beethoven’s Sonata no. 26 mvt. 3 by Sharon Yi-Hsuan Wu. 

Chan’s debut album will be released by Centaur Records on Saturday, April 6, 2019.