2013 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year
Congratulations on your YPA win. You are the first performer to claim the prize in the new format for the competition. How did you find the new YPA?
I think the new YPA format is superb. In fact, it was the reason I entered the competition after seemingly thinking that I would never do it again after my last experience in 2004. A top musician these days needs to show a certain level of consistency and professionalism in every facet of performance, whether on their own or in collaboration with others. The new festival format demands this from the musicians and at the same time, provides a more varied and exciting experience for the audience and jury. They get to know the performers more deeply and over a long period of time.
It must have been special to do this in your home town of Melbourne. Did having your friends and family around make a big difference?
Winning the competition in Melbourne was extremely special and a once in a lifetime experience. In Melbourne, my friends and family support me in large numbers at all my major events and the YPA final was no exception. And being of Vietnamese refugee background, the Vietnamese community is always a strong presence at every performance I give. Of course, all of this tremendous support makes a huge difference. I really believe it makes me play just a little bit better!
You’re a hugely successful chamber musician and soloist, and have a long list of competition wins under your belt. Do you have any particular goals or dreams that you’re yet to achieve?
I tell people the following story all the time. After I won the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition in 2005, one of my prizes was a performance in the Impresaria Piano Series in Melbourne. The director of this series was Margaret Farren-Price. I had attended many of Margaret’s events in the past and I was always impressed by her entrepreneurial skills, her energy and her ability to connect with every single audience member. Her concerts were always full houses. I learned much from Margaret and adopted her methods when I started to present my own events over the next eight years. Margaret has retired from her work but I would like to one day present my own recital series. This is one of my dreams!
What are you working on at the moment and where can people see you next perform?
Besides further recitals and concerto performances in 2014, there is one new engagement for me next year which is unique. I will perform Tchaikovsky’s second Piano Concerto as part of the Australian Ballet’s Imperial Suite performances in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Also in 2014 I am forming a new chamber music group with a launch concert on April 6 in Melbourne. That is all I can say for now!