In April 2013, Lionel and I visited Piano Salon Christophori in Berlin. Situated in an industrial area of the city, the building looked like a warehouse from the outside. We had no idea what to expect. Inside, what seemed to be a factory was also the concert room; crowded with pianos, many of them being restored, and in between those pianos, chairs for the audience. The performer that evening was Li-Chun Su – we had never heard of her until then. I still remember the programme: Liszt’s Sonata; Beethoven’s final Sonata No 32; and Bach-Busoni’s Chaconne. She took these grand pieces completely under her control and performed with ease. It was a fascinating evening.
Fast forward two years and Li-Chun was at Breinton last Saturday, performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Her performance of the Variations was, to me, an art of expression and articulation. It was like a fountain of musical wealth, ideas and inner feelings pouring out. This is not to say she left out the mechanical and mathematical elements of the Bach’s work. Far from it. It certainly was a memorable performance which was characterised by Li-Chun’s own interpretation and meticulous, no-fault playing. How beautiful was the Aria, so contemplative, so pure. Then straight into the springy and dynamic first variation, from then on continued a spiritual journey. Each variation was cared into minute details and had a punch line which stimulated the audience’s interest. Each variation ended thoughtfully and the transition to the next made us look forward to what was to come. Li-Chun’s pursuit of sound brought out such clarity and sensitivity, making every note and voice heard and appreciated. When the heavenly and heart touching Aria returned, the 45-minute journey came to a peaceful end. The atmosphere was warm, bringing everyone gently back to the real world.
The second half was Breinton’s first ever experiment in “Audience Choice”. Our members were given a voting sheet that offered eight choices out of which everyone selected three. The result was complied during the interval and Li-Chun performed the three highest polling choices - works by Handel, Chopin and Debussy. I had never heard a more exciting Handel than this. Bouncy and dancing, The Harmonious Blacksmith was so much fun. I particularly liked Chaconne in G. The starting chords were dynamic and dignifying, trills tickling and playful, this short piece brought out so many textures of sounds, mood changes and stories to tell.
Li-Chun followed by performing Chopin’s three Nocturnes from Op 9, with spiralling emotions. Debussy’s explosive Feux dÁrtifice was amazing with a completely different texture, followed by Claire de Lune, which was utterly beautiful. How could this overly performed (often badly performed too) piece sound so different and fresh? There was something magnetic about Li-Chun’s performance. I’m sure it was hard-earned by training and practicing, but some of it must be very natural - something which cannot be simply put aside as ‘character’ or ‘personality’, more like who she is.
In addition to performing, Li-Chun entertained us with informative and interesting information on each piece. One member described the evening as ‘priceless’. Indeed it was.
During her stay in the UK, she performed in six other concerts at various venues. I sat and listened to all of them. I never got bored; every time there was something fresh, something I hadn’t heard in previous occasions. She has this blessed talent to understand the instrument and audience instinctively and adopt her playing to the environment she is in. Whether it was performing to hundreds of listeners at St Martin-in-the-Field or at Breinton with an audience of 50, her music was enthusiastically received.
- Bach: Goldberg Variations
- Handel: The Harmonius Blacksmith, Suite in B flat, Chaconne in G
- Chopin: Nocturnes No.1, 2 and 3, Op. 9
- Debussy: Feux dÁrtifice, Claire de Lune
Li-Chun Su has emerged as one of Germany's most versatile young pianists. She is a soloist, a chamber musician and a fortepianist. She has been acclaimed as a talented interpreter of a wide-ranging repertoire from Bach to Kurtag.
Ms Su made her Berlin soloist debut in the Grand Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic in 2001. She has played numerous piano concertos in the Grand Hall and Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic Concert Hall and with the Jena Phiharmonic Orchestra in the Jena Philharmonic Hall, Porto national Orchestra in Casa da Musica. She has performed with the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra in the Gewandhaus Mendelssohn Hall in Leipzig and with the Berlin University of Arts Symphony Orchestra in Hardenberg Concert Hall. She appeared at the Bebersee Festival with Markus Groh in 2007. In march 2009 Li-chun has played the burleske concerto of R. Strauss with Taipei Symphony Orchestra in Taipei, conducted by Reinhard Seifried.
A native of Taiwan, Ms Su received her musical training in Taipei and Berlin. She graduated from the Berlin University of Arts with the Konzertexamen, the highest degree in graduate courses. She has studied with maestra Mitzi Meyerson, maestro Laszlo Simon, and maestro Martin Hughes. Since 2008 she has studied with maestro Gabor Paska and Fortepiano with Mitzi Meyerson.
Ms Su took first prizes in the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Competition in 2007 and in the Artur Schnabel Competition in 2007. In 2008 she awarded the first prize in Porto International Piano Competition, portugal. She has been invited to give recitals and chamber musical concerts across Germany, England, Austria, Belgian and Italy.
Ms Su is also a highly accomplished fortepianist. She has given several recitals in the Musikinstrumenten Museum Berlin and at the Michael Haydn Musikfestival. She was honored to play Carl Czerny¡¦s work on Czerny¡¦s own 1834 Boesenderfer which was shipped from Vienna to the International Czerny Congress, 2007 for her to play for the occasion. She has also been privileged to play the Brodmann¡¦s 1810 forepiano once owned by Carl Maria von Weber, and on an 1838 Conrad Graf.