TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Musical wunderkind Rueibin Chen (陳瑞斌) has returned to his birthplace to channel two Romantic era greats, marking the 250th birthday of Beethoven and 180th year since the birth of Tchaikovsky.
A native son of Tainan, Chen struck a chord at a young age by winning piano competitions, while most of his peers were starting to read Chinese characters. He played with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra at the tender age of 10.
At 13, the government gave him a passport so he could continue his musical education abroad. Chen's family helped him make the move to Austria, where he became the youngest student ever accepted by the prestigious Vienna Conservatory.
He later studied under Russian virtuoso Lazar Berman, becoming his first Asian student. He has performed with orchestras the world over, from the Los Angeles Philharmonic to the Shanghai Symphony, and taken the stage at an equally wide range of events, including the Salzburg Festival, Moscow's International Rachmaninoff Music Festival, and the Auckland International Piano Festival.
Chen has racked up a multitude of accolades over the years, including the Bösendorfer Prize, the Salzburg Festival's Best Prize for Contributions to Music, and the Golden Melody Awards for Best Performance and Best Album. He was also named "Best Young Artist" by Taiwan's minister of culture.
In a 2018 interview with Taiwan News, Chen said Taiwan was a late arrival on the classical music scene due to a dearth of public funding. However, he believes this has begun to change.
"I really hope the government can do more and more to support musicians through policy now that we have new concert halls opening up all over the country," Chen said.
The Taiwanese-Austrian pianist will serenade his hometown with selections from Beethoven and Tchaikovsky at the Tainan Municipal Culture Center next Friday (Dec. 4) at 7:30 p.m., followed by a performance at Taipei's National Concert Hall on Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.
(Taiwan News photo)