Wayland Resident to Perform with Maestro Bruce Hangen and Orchestra of Indian Hill on April 23
Pianist Kyle Chen, 14, son of Ying and Yonghao Chen of Wayland, is the winner of this year’s Student Concerto Competition at Indian Hill Music School.
Kyle was one of seven students from Indian Hill Music School who competed for the chance to perform a piece with The Orchestra of Indian Hill, under Music Director Bruce Hangen. Kyle will perform the Allegro from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 at the Orchestra’s season finale, Saturday, April 23 at 7:30pm at the Littleton Performing Arts Center. The concert will also feature the music of Hindemith and Brubeck. Buy tickets online or call (978) 486-9524 x116.
“We’re very pleased to be able to offer this wonderful opportunity to our students,” said IHM Executive Director Susan Randazzo. “It is one of the things that makes Indian Hill Music a special place to study.”
Chen, an eighth grader, has studied at Indian Hill Music School for the past seven years, and is a student of Niva Fried. A prize winner in piano competitions of the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association, New England Piano Teachers Association, and Steinway Society, Kyle has also performed at Carnegie Hall as a participant of the American Fine Arts Festival, and played concerts in Moscow through a special scholarship last spring. He has been selected to attend the BU Tanglewood Institute for summer piano studies this coming August.
A Q&A with Kyle Chen
1. How do you prepare for a competition? Do you ever get nervous?
When I first started participating in competitions, I was about eight years old. Over the years, I have developed sort of a habit of practice before my competitions. Most of the times, two weeks before I have competitions, I would stop listening to my usual music (pop, hip-hop, etc.) and start to listen more to classical music, especially the pieces I would be playing for the competition. Of course, I also practice more and more rigorously, but one thing I almost always do is once I get to a week before the competition, I stop playing the pieces all the way through; instead, I’ll just work on a specific section of the piece to fix it up.
I remember the first competition I went to, which was the Steinway Competition of 2011. I was extremely nervous – I had butterflies in my stomach, my hands were trembling, and I was terrified of playing in front of the judges. But when I actually started playing, all of those feelings went away. Nowadays, when I have competitions, I don’t usually get too nervous. Mostly, I just feel adrenaline and some anticipation. One way I have gotten rid of my stage fright is to make my performance just between me and the piano – and have fun when I play.
2. Why do you especially love Chopin’s pieces?
Ever since I first started playing piano, Chopin has been my favorite composer. Something about the style of his pieces, the elegance, and the beauty of his works has always intrigued me. I have played many pieces by Chopin, and he is one of the composers that I feel I can understand and have a great feel for.
3. What was it like to play at Carnegie Hall?
In my second year learning with Niva, I auditioned for the American Fine Arts Festival performance in Carnegie Hall, New York. I was fortunate enough to make it and get the opportunity to perform in one of the most famous performance halls of all time: Carnegie Hall. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was very nervous at the thought of performing in front of such a big audience. In fact, I can still remember pacing in the back entrance hall of the stage, trying to prepare myself for the performance. When it was my turn, the bright lights, the people, and the applause all faded as I tuned out. Once I got settled and started to play, I felt at home, sitting there at the piano, coaxing out a beautiful melody by Chopin from the instrument. It was truly an amazing experience.
4. What do you learn by studying piano and practicing?
For me, piano has always been something that I enjoy and have fun with. When I started learning, it wasn’t about if I was going to become a concert pianist; I did it for the fun of playing piano and how I enjoyed running my fingers across the keys and making music. Practicing piano and studying piano is, in my opinion, not just about the technique and how to play; it is more about how I can play piano throughout my daily life: in times of hardship, in times of happiness, and expressing myself through something other than words.
5. What do you like about studying at Indian Hill?
Basically my whole musical journey has been at Indian Hill, when early childhood classes jumpstarted my interest at the age of three. Beginning my piano studies here at seven, I have been learning with Mrs. Niva Fried for the past five years. Indian Hill is an amazing music school with great teachers, and throughout my education, the school has provided me with many performance opportunities. Finally, I really like how Indian Hill gets the community involved in its events and engagements with guest artists. I would not be the pianist I am today without Indian Hill. So thank you very much to everyone making the school such a great place for young musicians everywhere!