Sept. 20, 2023
From Calgary Prodigy to International Piano Sensation
The University of Calgary’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Recital Hall will resonate with the music of a homegrown hero who has taken the world by storm, 18-year old piano sensation, Kevin Chen. The School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) presents Ascending - Kevin Chen in Concert on Sept. 27, in celebration and support of two of Calgary’s flagship music training institutions.
Organized with the support of arts philanthropist Heather Edwards, this event holds dual significance. In addition to presenting an evening of riveting music by one of Canada’s fastest rising stars, the recital is a fundraiser at its core. All ticket proceeds, bolstered by a matching donation, will benefit the music programs at UCalgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts and the Mount Royal University Academy.
“Experience live what the international music world is raving about – the biggest revelation in classical music in a generation,” says Jean Grand-Maître, long-time Artistic Director of Alberta Ballet, and the host of the pre-concert discussion with Kevin’s teacher, SCPA Professor Emeritus of Piano, Marilyn Engle.
“His pianism combined astonishing technical mastery with a bold, wide-ranging musical imagination, profound insight and incomparable colourings, sound and dynamic shadings,” said reviewer Luc Lagacé, France Musique.
Kevin became the youngest pianist in history to win the Liszt International Piano Competition in 2021. This was closely followed by first prize at the Geneva International Music Competition in 2022 and most recently, first prize of the 2023 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition. For Kevin, this recital is more than just another performance. After a sweeping tour of France, Israel, Germany, Poland, and Taiwan, this event represents a heartfelt homecoming before his Carnegie Hall debut in October and continued studies in Europe.
“Audiences can expect an unforgettable night to marvel at this astonishing young pianist on the cusp of an enormous international career,” says Jani Parsons, Assistant Professor and Head of the Piano Program at the University of Calgary. “Everyone – the artist, his teacher Marilyn Engle, the event’s patron Heather Edwards, and the institutions involved are all thrilled to showcase Kevin’s tremendous artistry while supporting the institutions that have trained him and been the bedrock of developing young artists in Calgary for generations.”
The program, which includes music by Mendelssohn, Chopin, Scriabin, and Liszt, is anticipated to highlight his versatility of skill and depth of artistry. A special feature will be a complete performance of Chopin’s Etudes, Op. 25. This recital is more than just entertainment. It's a testament to Calgary's dedication to fostering talent, ensuring the legacy of classical music endures. As Kevin Chen takes the stage, he represents both the city's achievements and its future potential in the arts. Donations contributed during the event will add another layer of support that will generate enormous impact for years to come.