On Friday the 13th, courtesy of the Department of Music, the ETSU community was able to get a glimpse of our own Yi-Yang Chen’s piano preview recital of a performance to have be held at Carnegie Hall in New York on Oct. 17.

Yi-Yang Chen

Chen, an ETSU assistant professor of Piano and Music Theory, has been playing the piano since he was 8-years-old and describes playing the instrument as a way of “expressing feelings through music.”

Performing at Carnegie Hall is a goal that many composers could only dream of, and though Chen likes to describe himself as more of a pianist than a composer, he has labeled the well-deserved achievement as one of the most exciting events in his life.

At his preview concert here at ETSU, he performed some of his favorite pieces from iconic composers like Ludwig Van Beethoven, Claude Debussy and Sergei Rachmaninoff as well as some of his own pieces.

When speaking of his inspiration in composing, Chen speaks of being influenced by cities and atmospheres in Europe and Asia particularly and recalls being moved by the tragic earthquake that hit Japan in 2011 adding that, “My compositions are simply a reflection of the surrounding cultures and society as a whole.”

Robin McCabe, a judge at the 2011 Pacific International Piano Competition where Chen won, described his performance as one which displayed an emotional attachment to the music he played, saying, “The informed individuality and command of his performance was immediately compelling to the judges. We feel this young man has a fine future as an artist. He seems to ‘own’ the piano as he plays, and this makes his performance extremely powerful.”

To listen to Chen perform was truly an unforgettable experience, he was able to evoke a wide range of emotions in an unassuming audience, bringing them on an emotional roller coaster ride.

For more information for upcoming events hosted by the Department of Music, contact the department at 423-439-4276 or music@etsu.edu.