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15 Questions to Lucille Chung

img  Tobias
Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Fine, thank you. I currently live in Dallas, TX but was born in Montreal, Canada.

What’s on your schedule right now?
I am about to leave for Canada where I will play a recital which will be a broadcast by the CBC/Radio-Canada, and then will fly to Seoul, Korea, where I will play a duo piano recital with Alessio Bax, winner of the 2000 Leeds Competition, for the inaugural festival of a new oncert hall, the Chungmu Art Hall.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
Probably a doctor. I always wanted to help or cure people as a small child.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
I cannot pinpoint exactly who or what has influenced me more than the other, but here are a few important factors: my latest teacher, Spanish pianist, Joaquin Achucarro has shared so much of his wisdom from a performer’s point of view. Listening to live concerts by Radu Lupu, Gidon Kremer, Krystian Zimerman, and Mirella Freni changed my life. Learning on how to enjoy whatever life puts in front of you at that moment, whether it be a situation, a new country, new culinary dishes, and so on.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?

The hardest part is the uncertainty. You can never predict on what your conditions will be on that peculiar day: the hall, the piano, travel delays..
The best part is when you feel like the audience is really with you and you feel totally free and creative.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?

It depends on where you go. For example, in Asia, in China and Japan in particular, the audience is a young and vibrant one, which leads me to believe that there is a future audience but in America, the average age of the concert goer is over 60! In Spain, there seems to be a boom of musical culture with the construction of new halls and new series.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?

I tell them that everyone has a voice and they should be heard. The most conventional way is through recordings, especially if you cannot attend all the concerts throughout the world!  Now the new trend is in-house labels, such as Wigmore Hall, LSO, LPO, which make great music accessible to the public at a lower cost and yet there is a degree of artistic control which sometimes you don’t find with major recording labels.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?

It is when you know you have worked your best before the performance and when the moment comes, music feels as if it flows out of you. It is beyond you and you feel in harmony with the audience and the world at that moment. My approach is to be free and touching with integrity .

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

It is how I perceive  the composition, with all my knowledge, my instincts, and sound.

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.
Both. It is an artist’s duty to put his emotions THROUGH the music. One must always respect the work.

True or false: “Music is my first love”
Both. It has become my love. I never thought I would become a concert pianist. But music is always in my subconscious. I can be in my car, and I can sing or practice in my head. I can never shut the music from my life.

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
Both. One doesn’t need formal training to appreciate or love music. Even my 2 year old nephew loves music! But education gives you a better global understanding on why you apprecitate it .

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?

A mix of the “classics” and contemporary music. One must always cultivate and educate the audience of new music as well.

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?

“Baroque Reflections” on Warner Classics with Italian pianist, Alessio Bax.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
Yes, I’ve played the violin and the recorder. I didn’t have enough patience to persevere on the violin. I wasn’t so good…


Mendelsson, Liszt, Prokofiev, Messiaen (Palexa)
Mendelsson (RIC)
György Ligeti (Dynamic)
Scriabin (Dynamic)
György Ligeti (Dynamic)


Lucille Chung

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