|Esther Liao Piano Concert |
Fort Bend Music Center
2pm-4pm, Nov. 27, 2011
Esther would like to dedicate this recital to Feiping Hsu in memory of him on this speical date of November 27, 2001
Pianist Fei-Ping Hsu
He hit the elusive combination of fire and delicacy.
-- NEW YORK TIMES
A commanding athleticism born of grace and agility.
-- THE WASHINGTON POST
Marvelous displays of technical virtuosity and musicianship.
-- SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
His performance seemed like small pearls attached, one after another, onto a long string of musical sensitivity and dazzling technique.
-- AL HA MISHMAR, ISRAEL
His audience was intoxicated and captivated by the beauty of sound that poured from his fingers. Here was a plentiful supply of poetry, humor and dazzling finger work.
-- THE HONG KONG STANDARD
Pianist Fei-Ping Hsu was one of the most important Chinese pianists to emerge in the 20th century. He was a Gold Medal winner at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition, the first pianist in the competition’s history from the People’s Republic of China. He has also garnered top prizes in many other international competitions including the Gina Bachauer Memorial Piano Scholarship Competition, the University of Maryland International Competition, and the Paloma O’Shea International Competition (Spain). Mr. Hsu made his New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1983 and has since performed throughout the United States, including appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He also frequently toured Europe, South America, and the Far East. Mr. Hsu was especially noted for the sensitivity, brilliance, and poetry in his interpretations.”
Mr. Hsu was born on the island of Gulangyu in southeast China. As the youngest son of a Christian pastor, he grew up singing hymns while his mother played on a missionary’s upright piano. One day when she was sick, five-year-old Fei-Ping went to the piano and played the hymns by ear. The family realized his great talent and began encouraging his music. When he was eight years old, he had a rare opportunity to meet Professor Ji-sen Fan, the head of the piano department of the Shanghai Conservatory, and recognized as a child prodigy. By the time he was twelve-years-old, he already played the complete Chopin etudes and had performed with the Shanghai Philharmonic. At this time he was invited to perform by Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, who was so impressed with his talent that she personally invited Mr. Hsu to study and perform in Europe. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to accept this invitation because of the advent of the Cultural Revolution in China. However, he survived the labor camps and became well known in China and toured extensively throughout the Far East as a soloist with the Central Philharmonic which is the top national orchestra.
In 1979, Fei-Ping Hsu miraculously received permission to study in the United States. He first entered the Eastman School of Music, and then the Juilliard School of Music under the tutelage of Sascha Gorodnitzki. He has received international acclaim ever since, performing in Germany, France, Andorra, Switzerland, and Italy. He has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras such as the Moscow Philharmonic, the Finnish Tempere Symphony Orchestra, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra with Charles Dutoit, and in countless international festivals. Mr. Hsu was also in demand in his native Asia, where his concerto collaborations include the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra in Japan, the China National Symphony Orchestra in Beijing, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and the Shanghai Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded for Columbia Records, RCA Victor Records, Hugo Records, ROI Productions, M-A Recordings in Japan.
Fei-Ping Hsu’s life was cut short by a fatal auto accident on November 27, 2001, while on a concert tour in China. May the beauty of his performance last in our hearts forever.
Esther Liao’s Bio
Esther began learning piano from her mother at the age of four. As she showed her thrilling piano talent at the age of six, she was introduced to Mr. Scott Holshouser, the principle keyboardist of the Houston Symphony. Soon, she became a prized winning pupil of Mr. Holshouser.
She made her orchestral debut at age 9 and has performed with the Houston Symphony, For Bend Symphony Orchestra, and the Symphony North of Houston after winning the Gold Medals of their respective competitions. Her awarded performance with the Houston Symphony for the 2010 “Salute to the Educators Concert” was broadcasted by the Houston KHUF 88.7 radio station. In April 2011, Esther won first place in the south central regional area 10th annual Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition and will perform with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as the soloist in 2012.
Her numerous recitals began at the Houston Kinsmen Church after she won the 2007 Rochelle Liebling Kahan Memorial Scholarship for Child Piano Prodigies, and the Judge Special Award at the 2007 Kingsville International Piano Competition. Her solo performance appearances include the Houston Symphony Jones Hall, Houston Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Stude Concert Hall at Rice University, the International Festival of the Round Top Institute, the complete recitals at the Gulangyu Music Hall in Xiamen of China (2009 summer), and the Steinway Hall in New York (2010 summer).
Esther is now a freshman at the Bellaire High School. She just graduated from T. H. Rogers Middle School where she actively participated in her school orchestra, science and math enrichment classes. As an outstanding academic scholar, she has received state-level and grand-level recognition medals from the 2010 Duke University Talent Identification Program. She was also an avid Chess player and was awarded many trophies from state and national level chess tournaments.
T.H. Rogers student wins 1st place in symphony competition
(Original URL: Commentaries:
Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:40 pm
Pianist Esther Liao, a 14-year old eighth-grader at T.H. Rogers Middle School, has won first place in The Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s 10th anniversary Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition, the symphony announced Wednesday.
Liao, who resides in southwest Houston, performed the Liszt Piano Concerto No.1 in E-flat major, giving her a $3,500 cash prize and an opportunity to perform with the Dallas Symphony.
“Ms. Liao brought a level of subtlety and drama to the Liszt first piano concerto that is very rarely heard,” said Jamie Allen, the symphony’s director of education.
Liao began learning the piano from her mother at age four. Ms. Liao is the recipient of many awards, including the bronze, silver and gold medals in the Houston Symphony League Concerto Competition. Her orchestral debut came in 2006, at age nine, when she played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1 in C Major with the Houston Symphony.
Eight teenage finalists were selected through recorded submissions and performed 15 minutes of a concerto of their choice at the competition last Saturday. The winners were determined by a panel of judges, including Harrell, DSO Principal Cellist Christopher Adkins, DSO Senior Associate Concertmaster Gary Levinson and Guest Conductor Richard Egarr.
Established in 2001 by Harrell, a world renowned cellist, the competition is open to students ages 18 and under from the Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana, to identify and encourage the highest level of musical talent in the south central United States. Past winners have gone on to study music at such prominent institutions as the Eastman School of Music, Juilliard, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Peabody Institute in Baltimore.
A celebration of music education
Posted on March 1, 2010 by bwmconductor
(Original URL: http://houstonsymphonyblog.org/conductors-and-musicians/page/2/)
Esther Liao taking the Houston Symphony stage Image Credit: Jeff Fitlow
Most of us onstage at the Houston Symphony would tell you that we became musicians because, at some point in our early lives, we had a music teacher that made a huge impact on us. So it’s no surprise to learn that one of our favorite concerts each season is our annual Salute to Educators. This concert is designed as a celebration of local educators and students and their respective contributions to our community. In addition to honoring a handful of teachers onstage, we also showcase some of Houston’s finest student musicians.
This year’s concert was held just a couple weeks ago on Feb. 16, and contained three pieces, exactly like you’d find on a typical classical subscription concert: an overture and a concerto in the first half, followed by a symphony in the second. The primary difference between our Salute to Educators concert and a typical classical concert is not the repertoire performed, but who performs it.
As the opening work on any program sets the tone for the remainder of the evening, its selection and execution are incredibly important. This year, our opener was the early (and incredibly virtuosic) tone poem by Richard Strauss, Don Juan. Strauss wrote the piece when he was just 24, so it seemed an appropriate piece to play when celebrating young musicians and their teachers. The piece is notoriously difficult for orchestras and conductors alike, but is always a huge crowd-pleaser, and the Symphony really delivered with a sensational performance, getting the evening off to a phenomenal start.
While the opener appears just as it would on a classical program, the concerto is where differences begin to crop up: for our Salute to Educators concert, our soloist is not an internationally renowned classical music star (not yet, anyway), but homegrown, young talent from right here in Texas. The Houston Symphony holds its annual League Concerto Competition each January, which is open to Houston area students 18 years of age or younger, and the winner plays with us one year later on our Salute to Educators program. This year’s winner was a 13-year-old pianist named Esther Liao, who performed Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto. Considering that the age limit of this competition is 18, that Esther won when she was just 11 speaks very highly of her talent, but she proved herself more than worthy of her victory with a fantastic performance of the Mendelssohn. Both the audience and the orchestra loved her playing, and I couldn’t have enjoyed working with her more. Without question, this fine young pianist from right here in Houston has a very bright future ahead of her.
If performing with one local student is rewarding, performing with dozens of them is a real treat. For the large work on our Salute to Educators concerts, the Houston Symphony plays side-by-side with one of our Houston area youth orchestras; this season, we played with the Greater Houston Youth Orchestra. For these side-by-side performances, each youth orchestra member shares a stand with one of our Houston Symphony members while playing one of the great orchestral works of all time (in this case, Beethoven’s immortal Fifth Symphony). This opportunity is totally invaluable for both the youth orchestra and the Houston Symphony: the youth orchestra members have the opportunity to play a world-class piece with a world-class orchestra, and the Symphony members have the opportunity to share all their accumulated knowledge and experience with the next generation of orchestral musicians, some of whom may eventually even play full-time with the Houston Symphony. Having both today’s and tomorrow’s musicians onstage together—and honoring the teachers who help make all these achievements possible—really is one of the great thrills of our season!