“Artistry of that kind is rare in pianists of any age; to find it in a 20-year old is simply astounding, these were the words used to describe now 22-year old Eric Lu by The Daily Telegraph in September 2018.
The astounding artistry was well received and appreciated by the audience during Lu’s performance in a recent orchestral concert conducted by Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) at Qatar National Convention Center. The pianist received well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the concert.
Lu is rapidly building an international reputation as a young pianist with enormous promise and a distinctive musical voice.
A native of the Boston, Massachusetts area, Lu is the first prize winner of the 2015 US National Chopin Competition in Miami, where he also received ‘The Best Concerto Prize’. In October 2015, at 17 years old, Eric won the 4th prize at the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Competition in Warsaw, becoming one of the youngest laureates in the history of the competition.
Lu was born to immigrant parents from Kaohsiung (Taiwan) and Shanghai. He grew up in Bedford, Massachusetts He started piano studies at the age of 6 with Dorothy Shi, a well-known piano teacher. While at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, he studied piano with Alexander Korsantia, and A Ramon Rivera. In 2013, Lu entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with Profs Robert McDonald and Jonathan Biss. He is also a pupil of pianist Dang Thai Son.
Lu won the first prize at The Leeds International Piano Competition in 2018 and made his BBC Proms debut with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Long Yu in summer 2019. He is currently a member of the BBC New Generation Artist scheme.
The music in general and piano in particular has become the entire life of Lu, who during the conversation with Community spoke about his love for the instrument and music. “It has become my entire life. I will just say that music has endless possibilities. It is extremely difficult at the same time. It requires lifetime and constant work. You cannot really take a break. But, it is all worth when you go on stage and share the music with people.
“I am very happy with the warm response I got from the audience in Doha. They were simply fantastic. It was my third performance in Qatar. I really feel like a part of this community. I really enjoy coming here every time.”
The love and inclination for piano came to Lu from the family. “I followed my sister. She is three year older than I am. She learnt piano and I saw some of her lessons and I also started learning how to play the instrument. Surely, it is one of the most popular instruments for kids to learn. It has endless possibilities. So I got attracted towards piano in particular.”
In his journey of learning and mastering the instrument, Lu is all praise for his what he calls extraordinary teachers. “I was very lucky to have tremendous teachers throughout my life from the basic techniques throughout the middle school and the music institute. I studied with two best teachers there. I can talk for hours about their contributions and how grateful I am to them.
“In recent years, I have been lucky also to meet some extraordinary musicians. They have also helped me a lot. They understand what it is like to be [a musician] and to start a career. It is very difficult. I am thankful that they were very generous in helping me out.”
Lu got interested in the western classical music in the very beginning. “I started with the fundamentals of the western classical music. I did not play anything else.
For Lu, piano is like everything in his life. “I have my family and close friends in life also but piano seem to be my whole life. Since I have won some competitions and my career is making upward progress in last three years, It has become really time consuming. I have to board a plane and fly around the globe to attend concerts. I rarely find time to see people. It has become challenging but this is what I wanted. Piano is almost always there. If I do not touch for a day, it feels very strange to me.”
The pianist played a symphony of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and that received overwhelming response.
Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer of the romantic period. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally. “His work is very romantic. It is outpouring and it is very beautiful music. At the same time it is very difficult. The music is very busy for piano. It has specific Russian style. It is very different form the very classical music from Germany, Austria and other European countries. His music is very free. There is beauty of sound. I find there is very romantic and blushed beauty. It is fun to play Tchaikovsky.”
Young Lu loves the idea of continue playing piano. “As far as my future plans with piano go, I hope to continue the path I have been on. I want myself to be able to play more concerts at more venues and for more orchestras. I try and want to be the best possible pianist I can be. I look up to so many master pianists who are just like deity for me. I want to reach that level one day. I want to have a wonderful time ahead.”
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