Vicky Zhao

16:12 10/01/2019 |

Total post : 249

ERIC Lu won the top prize at the 19th Leeds International Piano Competition, the start of a career as a professional pianist


ERIC Lu, 20, won the top prize at the 19th Leeds International Piano Competition this September, cementing the start of a career as a professional pianist.
He’s got a business manager now and has signed a recording deal with Warner Bros. Records. Concerts in London, Paris, Berlin, the US, China and Korea are scheduled in the next two years.
Lu was recently in Shanghai for a recital of the music he played at the Leeds Competition. They included four Schubert impromptus, Chopin’s Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Mozart’s Rondo in A minor and Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor.


Lu was born in Massachusetts of Chinese immigrants. His mother is from Shanghai. Lu first showed an interest in the piano at age 4, while watching his elder sister take lessons. A year later, he said he wanted to play the piano, too.
He started piano studies at age 6 with Dorothy Shi, near Boston. Later, he enrolled at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, where he studied piano with Alexander Korsantia and A. Ramon Rivera. In 2013 he entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studies under Jonathan Biss and Robert McDonald. He is also a student of Vietnamese pianist Dang Thai Son.
Lu’s talent won global recognition when he took fourth prize at the 17th Chopin International Piano Competition in 2015 ­— one of the youngest pianists ever to win a prize. That opened the doors to concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic and the Qatar Philharmonic.
In 2017, he won the International German Piano Award in Frankfurt.
In the final at the Leeds Competition, he performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Halle Orchestra, conducted by Edward Gardner.
Lu took ill before the semi-finals, which required the contestants complete a 75-minute program. He had a high fever and splitting headache that make practice barely possible for two days. It was not until five hours before the performance that he finally felt clear-headed enough to perform, and he practiced straight through until the evening performance.
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 is an extremely challenging piece musically, technically and intellectually, according to Lu. He spent a lot of time thinking about it as he practiced it over and over for a year before the competition.
The second movement is his special favorite. It depicts a tragic story, with the orchestra and the piano having a dialogue.
Soon after the competition, Lu recorded the piece with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, which was released by Warner in November.
He visits Dang Thai Son every a few months, taking along well-prepared works and returning with the feeling that he still has a lot to learn.
Lu said he is proud to be among the Chinese musicians proving that Asians can be as proficient at classical music as Westerners.


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