Hsing-ay Hsu has twenty years experience as an Arts Administrator/Director/Producer. She is constantly exploring new ways to present thematic programs, and also serves as a creative consultant for other organizations.
Bach Birthday Bash with Harumi Rhodes (violin) and Ann Marie Morgan (viola de gamba)- experimenting with a harpsichord and a piano in one concert!
Boulder House concert
CLIMATE KEYS- Global Discussion, Local Innovation
Hsu & Friends: TUE 11/14/17, 7:30pm Grusin Hall, CU-Boulder,
Faculty Tuesday Series, Free admission, Map to venue: goo.gl/zhXF5g
Featuring Hsing-ay Hsu, with Andrew Cooperstock, piano; Abigail Nims, mezzo soprano; Victor Mestas, jazz piano, & Beth Osnes, actor & co-founder of CU's Inside the Greenhouse Initiative. Afterwards, Brett KenCairn from the City of Boulder will be on hand for questions.
Hsu joins an international pianists' collective during the United Nations Climate Change Conference to spotlight climate change. This adventurous program celebrates our planet with diverse aesthetics and a little audience participation, ending with Scriabin's fiery "Vers La Flamme." The program also features Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, and Ravel.
In 2017, the 23rd Conference of the Parties, COP23, will be take place, November 6-17. Delegates from 195 countries will meet for ten days of negotiations to further build
on the detail from the Paris Agreement. UN article about ClimateKeys
The Four Loves Project
Hsing-ay Hsu presented a solo recital and seminar at the 2016 International Keyboard Odyssiad and Festival in Fort Collins, CO, along with luminaries Olga Kern and Valery Kuleshov. Her seminar, "A Communications Make-Over for Young Professionals", addressed young contestants from three continents on developing "soft skills" for their career development. July 24-28.
Seminar on Debussy
Explore the magical sound world of three distinct styles by three master composers. Tune in to Claude Debussy, a father to contemporary piano literature, and his Eastern influenced motives, modal scales and subtle shadings. Survey the historical context and musical aesthetics of Robert Schumann and Gyorgy Kurtag, two composers who sound completely different on the surface, but who both loved to "play with" the material. Then, after Aimard’s concert, return to class to discuss the performance and ask questions about what you heard. Hsu uses her unique Conscious ListeningTM approach to engage you in "hands-on" classes that include her piano demonstrations along with comparative listening and discussions of the relationship between musical gestures and emotions in addition to traditional music appreciation. For adventurous, appreciative listeners at any level!
“China through the Lens of Piano Music”
Denver Art Museum
A civilization’s music reveals its philosophy, style, and identity. This performance project gives the perspective of award-winning pianist Hsing-ay Hsu, a Chinese-American, on Chinese culture through Chinese piano music. The performance component includes a wide variety of Chinese music, from ancient tunes to new commissions. The interwoven film segments with live narration involve a historical and a philosophical overview of Chinese aesthetics, and of the Chinese “experience” lived by Ms. Hsu and her family.
Professional Clinics (go to Conscious Listening webpage)
A New Strategy for Performance Anxiety
Mastering Mental Practicing
Beyond Your Fingertips- making a physical & emotional imprint from the start
Conquering Performance Anxiety
Creating a Music Career
In the Practice Room
Liszt: Inspired or Possessed?
The House Explodes a world premiere composed by Leanna Kirchoff, on the theme of motherhood
Fri 2/11/2011 Piano Celebration at Metro, www.pianocelebration.org
Wed 2/23/2011 Pendulum New Music, Atlas Blackbox Theater, CU-Boulder
“The Circa 1950 Project” Fall 2010
Modern America as we know it did not evolve until after World War II, when the USA suddenly became the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. Laden with unresolved issues like civil rights, and anxious about Communist subversion at home and overseas, we were nevertheless determined to take the charge and restore human dignity in the aftermath of the most devastating war. In this unique time period of parallel currents, composers captured the diversity of ideas through their art, ranging from the sublime to the bizarre. Barber, Feldman, Berger. See “Concerts” for schedule.
Barber Centennial CD Notes
I stayed home the summer before high school. No music camp or piano competition. Not much to do. So my parents bought me a video of Baryshnikov, my favorite male dancer, and it happened to be a documentary/performance of Configurations, set to Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto, played by John Browning. I was completely mesmerized. Not only had I always dreamed about being a dancer (but my legs weren’t straight enough for Beijing’s dance school), the Romantic musical language of Barber touched my teenager’s soul. I watched the video over the over, memorizing the choreography although I did not know any ballet terminology. I did not memorize the complex music until many years later. I had always been a visual learner, and Choo San Goh's imaginative movements brought to life the innovative sound gestures and rich orchestral textures.
After I got my degrees from Juilliard and Yale, I was faced with the cold hard reality that I no longer had a piano teacher to be responsible for me. Unlike the vocalists I played for at Yale, who have coaches throughout their career, pianists work in ivory towers, left to navigate the unfamiliar waters of post-school life on our own. My teacher Claude Frank, while being an amazing musician, firmly believed that one should calmly sit through his/her twenties before embarking on a career, much to my chagrin. There was no career development in those days, but I was determined to jump right in and figure it out as I go. The most ambitious project I could think of was to learn and record the Barber Concerto. Not many people tackled the Barber Concerto, but I remembered that Jackie Parker (whom I met at the Ravinia Festival) plays it, so I asked him to talk through it with me. I could not afford to pay a teacher of his stature, but I asked to buy him lunch. He was so gracious and never once questioned my ability to pull it off.
The next step was to find a non-unionized orchestra. One of the orchestras with which my uncle/mentor Fei-Ping Hsu had collaborated was the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra in Moscow. With the Russian exchange rate being so low at the time, it was actually affordable and quite available for hire. So I got the idea to write every sponsor I ever had from the age of 10, and fundraise enough money to foot the bill and buy an airplane ticket to Moscow. I was able to stay with a friend of a friend, whose husband is actually a well-known American opera critic. It was very strange doing all this without a producer or any experience whatsoever, but I guess it also protected me from knowing just what I had gotten myself into. I arrived at the recording session, and the first bit of news was that the conductor never got the score in the mail. Only a man of true genius, and one utterly oblivious to how complex the Barber piano concerto was, would show up at a recording session without telling anyone of this problembeforehand. He was both. I myself, having no experience (as I previously admitted), matched his disregard for a reality check. I gave him my own score (I practice with the orchestral score), and said “let’s start”.
In the short hours we had together, there was no shortage of Russian "exclamations" or my trying to convince the sight-reading players to get all the details. Why would I need to hear a 32nd note instead of a 16th in the middle of the texture if nobody else noticed the difference? Surprisingly, some of the most difficult places were no problems for their sight-reading. It was a very entertaining cultural/aesthetic mishmash of whatever-you-call-it. I gave the recording engineer my choice of edits, but was sent a different version. With the help of their Chinese manager, I discovered that the nice lady in the back, whom I thought was some administrator, was their producer, and picked the edits to make the orchestra sound the best. “But I'm the one paying for this, “ I insisted. “I have to have my edits.” My argument won, but it’s always good to give duty-free cigarettes just in case.
I came back to the US with my first concerto recording ever, and shared it with my friends. I did not think about recording a second piece to complete a full-length CD for another several years. Dr. Veda Kaplinsky, who had helped me recover from a serious shoulder injury, had once suggested that I learn the Barber sonata. I, being the youthful romantic, would not touch it until I felt inspired to do it. I did not want to become another hacker at the keys.
The idea of the Barber Sonata resurfaced earlier this year, the centennial year of Barber’s birth. I wanted to put together a Barber Celebration at the University of Colorado- Boulder, where I run the Pendulum New Music Series. With gratitude for my new friend pianist Larry Graham and for Horowitz’s historical recording, I connected with the sonata this time around. Many thanks to Brandon Vaccaro, my recording engineer, and to my husband, composer Daniel Kellogg, who first gave me the courage and desire to perform post-war/contemporary music.
Johann Sebastian Bach: The Eloquence and Wit of the Goldberg Variations
Bach (1685-1750) set the bar high early in the history of Western music, and many subsequent composers have paid homage to him. Although he wrote for many genres, one of Bach’s greatest accomplishments is with the keyboard. His Goldberg Variations have been a favorite of connoisseurs for centuries, and pianist Hsing-ay Hsu leads this informative and animated journey through the counterpoint of Bach’s 30 variations. Consider Bach’s interesting life (20 children!) and his career marked by ups and downs. Yet, his music seems to soar to heaven. Drawing on in-class piano demonstrations by your instructor, listen to, investigate and discuss the stylistic details and the underlying architecture of Bach’s work, including the exquisite counterpoint and subtext referencing Bach’s devotion to God—and, yes, even a silly reference to bad cabbage! Also, compare different interpretations of the variations, including piano and harpsichord. Discuss why Bach truly was the ultimate mastermind.
Program I: ENTERING THE WORLD OF MESSIAEN
50 minutes lecture-recital
One of the most sensual and exotic composers of the 20th century, Olivier Messiaen created a new sound world to express his mystical Catholic faith. Hsu discusses the synthesis of nature, the French lineage,synesthesia and the visual arts, and other disparate elements in Messiaen’s works. The two featured pieces are Messiaen’s Premiere Communion de la Vierge and Regard de l’Eglise d’amour from VingtRegards sur l’enfant Jesus. This lecture-recital enables the non-scholar to develop a personal relationship with Messiaen’s musical art.
Program II: THE FRENCH CONNECTION
50 minutes solo and chamber music
Guest violinist in Messiaen’s Theme & Variations
French music has evolved quite dramatically over the last few centuries, and yet they share certain aesthetics. A love for rich harmonies, for nature, and for poetic renderings draw together this program of Couperin, Debussy, and Messiaen.
Program III: FAITH IN THE MUSIC OF MESSIAEN
50 minutes lecture-recital
French composer Olivier Messiaen expressed his devout Catholic faith through his musical art. Among his numerous sacred works is the masterpiece Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus, or “Twenty Contemplations on the Baby Jesus”, written in 1944. Hsu explains basic compositional devices that represent the theological ideas behind this grand work, and performs Premiere Communion de la Viergeand Regard de l’Eglise d’amour.
Program IV: VISIONS DE L’AMEN
50 minutes piano duo
Guest pianist David Korevaar
“Visions de l’Amen” is one of the most striking 20th century works for piano duo. The idea of “Amen” comes from Ernest Hello’s definition: “expressions of the creative art, obedient acceptance, spiritual desire, and eternal consummation”. Messiaen evokes the majesty and power of the eternal world with sounds of gamelan, jewels, and birdsong.