Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Prodigy - World Premiere of Symphony #1 by Kevin Chen

The Abbotsford Youth Orchestra presents
The Prodigy
Kevin Chen: 8-Year-Old Child Prodigy and Pianist
Abbotsford Youth Orchestra
Calvin Dyck: Director and Virtuoso Violinist
Colleen Athparia: Guest Pianist
Friday, October 4, 7 p.m.
South Abbotsford Church, 32424 Huntingdon Road
Tickets: Adults $20; Students $10 - Kings Music or House of James
Sunday, October 6, 3 p.m.
Langley Community Music School, 4899 207 Street
Tickets: Adults $21, Students $11 at LCMS

World Premiere of Symphony #1 by Prodigy Kevin Chen

“That was fun. When can we do it again?” asked young prodigy Kevin Chen last October after his first ever performance with an orchestra (the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra). Chen is now returning to British Columbia from his home in Calgary to play with the AYO on Friday, October 4 at 7 p.m. at the South Abbotsford Church and on Sunday, October 6 at 3 p.m. at Langley Community Music School - this time with his own composition – Symphony # 1.

A World Premiere - Says AYO director Calvin Dyck, “After getting his ARCT (Association of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto) teacher’s diploma this past June and placing first in the Canadian Music Competition in Montreal this summer, Kevin decided to write a couple of symphonies. He was inspired by the orchestra last year, so this year he is coming back for the AYO to play his first ever symphony - in a world premiere!”

Eight-year-old, pint-sized pianist - At age five Chen began music studies; at six he was the youngest in Canada to take and pass the Grade 9 Royal Conservatory of Music exams; at age seven he passed his Grade 10 (with first-class honours); now he has his ARTC teacher’s diploma – and he’s only eight! Because he is still so very small, when he’s at the piano Chen requires a box with a system of levers that are his equivalent of pedals.
Much like Mozart - This shy, very childlike and innocent young boy is a highly unusual talent. Says Dyck, “Kevin is akin to Mozart with his incredible capacity for absorbing and memorizing music in a very short period of time. He hears the music in his head when he looks at a score and while he is composing. He has a mature musical sensitivity that you usually only see in a seasoned artist; and he handles technical and musical intricacies with amazing ease.”
While his solo piano writing is like that of a Chopin nocturne, Chen’s symphonies are in the style of Mozart. “They are very melodic and immediate, and he uses similar orchestrations,” explains Dyck.
A real curiosity – Chen’s performances in 2012 went really well – so well that he received standing ovations and audience members wanted their picture taken with him. “A film crew came out to make a documentary, and music teachers brought along their students. There’s a real fascination with his talent,” adds Dyck.
A world premiere and something very familiar - The AYO will be performing the world premiere of Chen’s Symphony #1 and accompanying him for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23. “We are also presenting the Overture to Rossini’s comedic opera The Barber of Seville. This is one of the most loved and best recognized works in the classical/opera repertoire, thanks in part to its use in countless movies, commercials and a Bugs Bunny cartoon (Let me cut your top/Let me shave your mop...).”
Colleen Athparia – Adding to the talent of this performance, and playing alongside Dyck’s virtuosic violin is Chen’s teacher, Colleen Athparia. Athparia is an international artist, author and RCM adjudicator, a sought after teacher at the Mount Royal Conservatory, and is considered one of Canada’s top four pianists of contemporary music.
Tickets are now available – Not to be missed, this is an inspiring event for everyone, particularly existing and future musicians. That’s Friday, October 4, 7 p.m. at the South Abbotsford Church, 32424 Huntingdon Road, Abbotsford, BC. Tickets (adults $20, students $10) are available at Kings Music and House of James – and Sunday, October 6, 3 p.m. at Langley Community Music School, 4899 207 Street. Tickets (adults $21, students $11) at LCMS.

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