Jason Chiu, piano
Claude Debussy L’isle joyeuse
Frédéric Chopin Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23; Ballade No. 2 in F major, Op. 38; Ballade No. 3 in A-flat major, Op. 47; and Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52
Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53, ‘Waldstein’
Charles Tomlinson Griffes Notturno from Three Fantasy Pieces, Op. 6
Maurice Ravel La Valse
Bay Area pianist Jason Chiu presents a program featuring some of the most iconic compositions for the piano along with a few lesser known works. Among the pieces to be performed are Chopin’s four Ballades and Beethoven’s ever popular Waldstein Sonata.
The program opens with L’isle joyeuse (The Island of Joy), a spectacular piece which in Debussy’s own words, “seems to embrace every manner of treating the piano, combining as it does strength with grace”. The Ballades of Frédéric Chopin are four of the most enduring works ever written by the great master of the piano. Full of drama as well as lyrical beauty, they epitomize all the thought, passion, and poetry of the Romantic generation. The Waldstein Sonata, a monumental work from the Classical era, ranks among Beethoven’s finest achievements. With its bold sonorities and challenging technical demands, it set a new standard for piano compositions during its time. American composer Charles Tomlinson Griffes was influenced by the mysterious and exotic sounds of the French impressionists, and his Notturno, from Fantasy Pieces, Op. 6, is characteristic of this style. The program concludes with La Valse by Ravel, a piece inspired by the Viennese waltz. The music is a reminiscence of the popular ballroom dance from a bygone era, starkly contrasted with the harsh realities of the modern world.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason Chiu was a recent prize winner of the American Protege Piano and Strings Competition and was invited to perform in the winners’ concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. He has received a number of other top prizes including first place in the 2019 inaugural Bay Area Piano Competition, and a third place award in the 2014 American Prize Competition for his recording of Chopin’s four Ballades. In his rendition of these major works for the piano, he displayed “many original interpretative ideas and a very individualistic way of listening,” according to the judges. While attending U.C. Berkeley, where he attained his B.A. in Music, Jason performed as a soloist with the University Symphony Orchestra, and was a recipient of the Eisner Award for achievement in the creative arts. He later earned his Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying with Sharon Mann. Recent appearances include solo performances in Seattle at Benaroya Hall and in San Francisco with Old First Concerts, as well as performances with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra and the Saratoga Symphony. Jason maintains an active teaching studio from his home near Berkeley where he resides with his wife along with his two children.