San Francisco's Home for Great Concerts since 1970

Heidi Hau – November 22, 2015

Heidi Hau, piano

Debussy Preludes, Book 1
Chopin Preludes, Op. 28

A prelude is typically a short piece of music, often improvisatory in nature. In the Baroque era, it served as an introductory piece of music, most famously in J. S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. It was this set of works that influenced Frédéric Chopin who liberated the prelude and allowed it to serve as an independent concert piece, each conveying a specific idea and emotion. His Op. 28 Preludes challenged the contemporary attitudes of the worth of such a small musical form. Opinions of this work were mixed among his peers. However, Franz Liszt said, “Chopin’s Preludes are compositions of an order entirely apart… they are poetic preludes, analogous to those of a great contemporary poet, who cradles the soul in golden dreams…” A century later, in 1915, Claude Debussy agreed to edit a new complete edition of Chopin’s works. Debussy had always worshiped Chopin and said “Chopin is the greatest of all-for with the piano alone he discovered everything.” And like his great musical hero, he too wrote his own set of preludes, 2 books of 12 preludes each. He infused each prelude with his own sense of individuality, being a master of color and harmony, light and darkness and texture and rhythm. Heidi Hau has performed in recital venues throughout the world including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Wiener Saal in Salzburg, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Carnegie Hall in New York, the National Concert Hall and the John Field Room in Dublin and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. She was selected nationally as one of the two recipients of the Fulbright Scholarship for graduate study in Ireland. She completed her Masters degree with a First Class Honors at the Royal Irish Academy of Music under the director, Dr. John O’Conor. Currently she is the Director of the Marilyn Mindell Piano Competition of the Peninsula Symphony and on the pre-college piano faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. For more information please visit

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