GV hosts renowned pianist for concert


Courtesy / GVSU

Ayron Rutan, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s Music Department hosted a Guest Artist Recital and Conversation with renowned pianist and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Piano Department Chair, Dr. Wan-Chin Chang. 

The event was held on Nov. 14 inside the Sherman van Solkema Recital Hall at the Haas Center for Performing Arts. 

While it was open to the public, seating was limited and priority was given to GVSU’s budding piano students. The event was organized by Dr. Sookyung Cho, GVSU’s Associate Professor of Piano and Curator of the GV Piano Chamber series. 

As Curator of the Piano Chamber Series, it’s Cho’s responsibility to bring in professional talent in hopes that GVSU’s piano students will be exposed to outside work, and inspired by the performances. 

The idea of bringing Chang and her talents to Allendale actually sprung from a friendship between herself and Cho, who had met one another while working at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. 

“Dr. Cho has been a really good friend,” Chang said. “She is an amazing pianist and I’ve always wanted to do more with her, besides our short work together at Blue Lake. She asked if I wanted to bring something over to Grand Valley and I happily said yes.” 

The focus of the recital was on female composers, with Chang performing “Harpsichord Sonata in G Major” by Marina Martines (1744-1812), “Ballade, Op. 6” by Amy Beach (1867-1944), and “Piano Sonata in G Minor” by Clara Schumann (1819-1896). 

The idea was to shine a light on a group of underrepresented composers. 

“Both Amy Beach and Clara Schumann were first introduced to me in high school,” Chang said. “So even though these were new repertoire, I’ve always known these composers and this year was the perfect time to present them to an audience.” 

Chang’s mission with this recital was not only to present interesting and possibly unfamiliar female composers but also to remind people of how much women have been held back by the culture over the course of history, and the ways in which they’ve pushed back. 

“Hopefully it will be inspiring for them (GVSU piano students) to see that regardless of the restrictions that have been given to us or the circumstances that we have, we can always find a way to be creative, to improve on our skills, and to be an inspiration for others,” Chang said.

Chang appears regularly as a soloist with orchestras such as the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra, Dana Point Symphony, and more. In addition to her performances, she also frequently collaborates with other musicians in chamber recitals. 

She has also been invited to perform at the White Lake Chamber Music Festival, Blodgett Faculty Recital Series at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. 

Chang was the appointed accompanist for several competitions and festivals such as the Stars of Tomorrow, Opera Night at South Orange County School for the Arts, and Santa Monica Concerto Competition. 

She is currently on staff at MiraCosta College and Soka University of America. During the summer, she is the piano department chair at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan.

To learn more about Chang as both an artist and an educator, you can visit her profile at Soka University’s website.