Twenty-Year Old Piano Prodigy Ran Jia makes her Vancouver Debut with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Vancouver BC – Twenty-year-old wunderkind Ran Jia took her homeland China by storm, performing from the age of seven – now, she sets her sights on North America. The VSO is honoured to present her Vancouver debut in an all-Mozart series finale in the Bach & Beyond and Beltone Symphony Sundays series packages. She will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12, while Maestro Bramwell Tovey leads the orchestra in Mozart’s Paris and Linz symphonies.
Pianist Ran Jia has been hailed as “China’s new champion” and a “piano poet.” The daughter of Professor Daqun Jia, Dean of the Graduate Study Programs at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and one of China’s leading composers, she began studying the piano at age 3 and immediately showed extraordinary natural abilities. Her professional career skyrocketed when she was the only concert pianist invited to perform at Thelonious Monk’s 90th birthday in New York. The winner of numerous accolades the world over, she now studies with Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
This concert celebrates the music of history’s greatest musical genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Symphony No.31, better known as the “Paris” Symphony, is one of Mozart’s most famous symphonies. Longing to escape from the tyrannical, unappreciative grip of his employer, the Archbishop of Salzburg, in September 1777 Mozart and his mother set out to find him a new job. They arrived in Paris and over the next six months, Wolfgang and his music drew an indifferent response. To make matters worse, his mother died in July. One of the few bright spots of the Parisian period was his association with the Concert spiritual, a series of public musical events managed by Jean Le Gros. This impresario commissioned several works from Mozart including Symphony No.31 which was positively received by Parisian audiences.
Mozart composed Symphony No.36 in the autumn of 1783. After an emotionally strained visit with his family in Salzburg, he and his wife Constanze stopped in the city of Linz during their return journey to Vienna. They enjoyed the hospitality of Count Thun, a music-loving nobleman whose wealth allowed him the luxury of his own orchestra. As a gesture of gratitude to his host, Mozart composed this work for him. Written in just four days, it has been known as the Linz Symphony ever since.
Mozart launched his life as a freelance artist in Vienna in May 1781. Since he was best known there as a pianist, he composed numerous piano works, including Piano Concerto No.12 in A Major, to play at his own subscription concerts. Despite the modest nature and scoring of this concerto, it stands out in Mozart’s early works for that instrument.
Bach & Beyond and Beltone Symphony Sundays Series:
Music of the Master: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Friday & Saturday, May 15 & 16, 8pm, Chan Centre
Sunday, May 17, 2pm, Orpheum Theatre
Bramwell Tovey, conductor
Ran Jia, piano
Mozart Symphony No. 31, Paris
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 12
Mozart Symphony No. 36, Linz
Tickets $35 to $59 (Student, Senior and Subscriber discounts available)
Tickets available through VSO Customer Service at 604.876.3434 and online at www.vancouversymphony.ca
Chan Centre performance tickets also available at the Chan Centre Box Office, or Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone, 604.280.3311.
Generously Supported By:
The Bach & Beyond Series has been endowed by a generous gift from the Chan Foundation of Canada.
Radio Sponsor: CHQM-FM
Symphony Sundays Series Sponsor: Beltone
Bramwell Tovey, conductor
A musician of striking versatility, Bramwell Tovey is acknowledged around the world for his artistic depth and warm, charismatic personality on the podium. Tovey’s career as a conductor is uniquely enhanced by his work as a composer and pianist, lending him a remarkable musical perspective.
Tovey garnered a 2008 Grammy Award and a 2008 Juno Award for his recording with violinist James Ehnes and the Vancouver Symphony. Recently named Principal Guest Conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, he works frequently with the Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, among many others. He has presided as host and conductor of the New York Philharmonic’s Summertime Classics series at Avery Fisher Hall since its founding in 2004.
As a composer, he was honored with the Best Canadian Classical Composition Juno Award in 2003 for his Requiem for a Charred Skull. New works include a co-commission for the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics’ 2008 summer seasons as well as a full-length opera for the Calgary Opera, The Inventor, to premiere in January of 2011.
Tovey has been awarded honorary degrees, including a Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Music in London, honorary Doctorates of Law from the universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, and Kwantlen University College, as well as a Royal Conservatory of Music Fellowship in Toronto. In 1999, he received the M. Joan Chalmers National Award for Artistic Direction, a Canadian prize awarded to artists for outstanding contributions in the performing arts.
Ran Jia, piano
At twenty, pianist Ran Jia is already regarded as a striking musician with unusual natural abilities. Tan Dun hailed her a “piano poet with dramatic skill in music-making”.
Born on December 31, 1988 in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, Ms. Jia began studying piano at the age of three. She made her solo debut in 1995, and has since performed publicly in Shanghai, Nanjing, Chengdu, Fuzhou, and Xiamen in China. Her numerous awards include The Special Prize for her performance of a Mozart Sonata in the Second Piano International-E-Competition in 2004; the Silver Medal in The National Cultural Ministry Dandelion Youth Arts Competition in Nanjing, China in 2001; First Prize and the Osaka Mayer Prize in the Shanghai-Osaka Chinese and Japanese Friendship Youth Piano Competition in 2000; First Prize in The Sichuan Youth Piano Competition in 1998; and Second Prize in The National Xinghai Cup Piano Competition in 1998.
In October 2001, Ms. Jia performed Mozart’s Sonata in F major (K. 533) at a master class at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Piano master Fou T’song praised her talent in the Evening News Standard in Shanghai as “an amazing natural feeling for music.” In May 2004, Ms. Jia presented an ambitious recital at the Heluting Concert Hall at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. The program included sonatas by Mozart, Prokofiev, and Schubert, Chopin’s Ballade No. 1, Debussy’s Preludes and Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1. Her recital was received with great enthusiasm by the audience and the media. Oriental TV broadcasted two documentaries featuring Ran’s life as a young artist including her live performance at the Conservatory.
In November 2005, Ms. Jia was selected to perform at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall with her teacher, Gary Graffman, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at a “Junior/Senior Concert” organized by the Musicians Emergency Fund, Inc. Ms. Jia performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467 under Maestro Li Jian. Highlights of 2006 included a return, sold-out concert at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and a performance of two Mozart concerti with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra at the Shanghai Concert Hall. She has recently been featured in a live concert on Chicago’s classical music station WFMT and has given her recital debut at the concert series of Rockefeller University in New York. She was the only classical pianist invited to perform for a celebration concert in New York City in honor of Thelonious Monk’s 90th Birthday. This concert was broadcast worldwide on WQXR. Ms. Jia will make her debut at the Klavierfestival Ruhr in Germany in the summer of 2008 and will make her Carnegie Hall recital debut in the 08/09 season and return to Shanghai for a solo recital.
Ran Jia is currently studying with Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Her father, Professor Daqun Jia, is one of the leading composers in China and Dean of the Graduate Study Programs at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.