Magazine article Musical Opinion

Wu Qian

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Wu Qian

Article excerpt

Talks to Hazel Davis

"I would like to be known as a true artist, who has knowledge and most importantly the ability to move people's hearts when they hear me", says Wu Qian. It's a simple wish but one which the 22-year-old Chinese pianist seems well on the way to achieving.

Born in Shanghai to non-musical parents in 1984, Wu Qian began her training at the Shanghai Conservatoire of Music. She was 'talent spotted' at the tender age of 11 by Malcolm Troup who promptly secured a scholarship for her at the Menuhin School, where she studied with Irina Zaritskaya. Uprooting from her home at such a young age must have been a daunting experience, but the soft-spoken virtuoso takes it all in her stride. "It was very difficult at first, I couldn't speak the language. It was the first time I wasn't with my parents, in such a different country and I couldn't get used to the food. But I quickly got used to it and started to really like it here."

While she was just 15 Qian performed Mozart's Piano Concerto in E flat major at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and later at the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad. She won the Sydney Perry Award from the Martin Musical Foundation and in 2000 first place in the Tunbridge Wells International Young Artists Competition. She says: "I was only 16 and didn't expect it at all, but it made me very happy!"

In 2001 she gave an ambitious performance at the Purcell Room, including Elliot Carter's Night Fantasies, two György Ligeti's Etudes and the World Premiere of Toccata by Malcolm Singer. It was this recital, broadcast on Radio 3, which earned her the critical description of 'heart-stoppingly exciting' and 'profoundly impressive.'

With reference to her eclectic choices her response is simple: "I don't like to be limited yet to a certain category. I love everything from Baroque to 20th-century music. So far, I feel most comfortable with Romantic repertoire but I have also got very good reviews for playing contemporary music. …

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