Timothy Ehlen, Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Illinois, visits Bloomington, September 23, to perform with musical collaborator and alumna Yu-Chi Tai in the Ehlen-Tai Piano Duo. Their free performance in Auer Hall at 8pm includes works by Mozart, Ravel, and Lutoslowski.
Timothy Ehlen, currently Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, has performed extensively in the United States and Europe as a soloist and chamber player. He first gained international attention after winning the World Piano Competition in 1987; after his subsequent debut in Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall in 1988, the New York Times raved that his “playing was filled with elegant personality… recalled bygone artists like Robert Casadesus and, especially Walter Gieseking in their mastery of both 18th century and impressionist music…immaculate technique.” The Pro Piano Recital Series sponsored his 1997 recital in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, which the New York Concert Review hailed as “…an absolutely remarkable tour-de-force.” Recitals in France, Germany, and Korea have elicited a similarly enthusiastic response: “Sensitive and tender creativity [in Ravel]” [Fürther Nachrichten] and “behind the fire hid a heartfelt emotion, held together by tender affection [in Beethoven]” [L’Alsace].
Recent recitals include the Cleveland Orchestra’s Schubert Bi-Centennial Series in Cleveland, festival Recontres Internationales de Piano en Alsace, International Franz Liszt Festival in France; periodic recitals on the series “Sundays Live” (broadcast live on KMZT in Los Angeles from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Old First Concerts in San Francisco, Bösendorfer Hall in Vienna, Kum Ho Art Hall in Seoul, Korea; numerous universities, including Indiana University in Bloomington, Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, Seoul National University in Korea, New England Conservatory of Music, etc. He has been heard frequently on National Public Radio, in addition to numerous independent broadcasts of major market performances in this country and abroad.
Mr. Ehlen is currently in the process of recording the complete Beethoven Sonatas for the Azica label. Volume IV was released in September 2011; volumes V and VI are scheduled for release in 2012. His solo CD containing the Schumann Fantasie and other works was released on the Azica label in 2006 to critical acclaim. Previous recordings have appeared on the Crystal, Omnibus, and Felia Mundi labels.
Dedicated to fostering young talent, Mr. Ehlen regularly presents master classes at major universities and conservatories, including The San Francisco Conservatory, Seoul National University, Yonsei University and others in Korea, Eastman School of Music, The Chautauqua Music Festival, Brevard Music Festival, The Colburn School of Music, California Institute of the Arts, Idyllwild School for the Arts in Los Angeles, Cleveland Institute of Music, Boston University, World Piano Competition, etc.
Mr. Ehlen has taught and performed at the summer festivals Rencontres Musicales en Lorraine in Nancy, France, the Vienna International Piano Academy in Vienna, Austria, and the Chautauqua Music Festival in New York, and the Brevard Music Institute in North Carolina. He completed his BM and MM studies with John Perry at the University of Southern California, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree with Paul Schenly at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Timothy Ehlen is an International Steinway Artist.
Originally from Taiwan, Dr. Yu-Chi Tai has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia as a solo recitalist, chamber pianist and collaborative musician. She made her first orchestral debut with the Tainan City Youth Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 in1994. Since then, she has won numerous international competitions and appeared in many concerts. In 2001, she won the Bronze Medal of the piano competition held in memory of Evgeny V. Malinin at the IBACH Piano Academy in Germany; in 2007, she was the winner of the 2007 UIUC School of Music Concerto Competition, resulting in a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini with the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Her performances have been broadcast on WFMT in Illinois.
In summer 2007, Dr. Tai was invited to the Prague International Piano Master Class and was selected to perform at the Villa Bertramaka, where Mozart wrote his opera Don Giovanni. She was the winner of the 2008 Krannert Debut Artist Award and was invited to play a Debut Recital at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. In May 2008, she won the First Prize in the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in New York and had a Debut Recital in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She was also selected to perform Pulitzer- Prize-Winner David Lang’s two pianos in the concert of Bang on a Can Marathon. In 2010, she was the First Prize winner of the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra Piano Concerto Competition, performing the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No.2. This year, Dr. Tai is the winner of the 2011 Artist Presentation Society Competition and is invited to perform a solo recital in St. Louis.
As a dedicated chamber musician, Dr. Tai has recently presented collaborative recitals with the Symmetrio Piano Trio at chamber series in Illinois, Indiana, Connecticut, Missouri, as well as in Taiwan. Dr. Tai was invited by Taiwan’s Council for Cultural Affairs to perform piano trio concert tours in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. Symmetrio was also invited to a Fall Music Creative Residency at the Banff Center in Canada in October 2010 and a concert tour in Taiwan in 2011. In April 2011, she was invited to play the Brahms Piano Quartet in the DoCha Chamber Music Festival in Champaign, Illinois, with concert violinist Stefan Milenkovićst, Masumi Rostad, violist of Pacifica Quartet, and Dmitry Kouzov, the cellist of the Manhattan Piano trio. Other 2011-2012 collaborations are with Sibbi Bernhardsson, violinist of the Pacifica String Quartet, two-piano concert tours with Timothy Ehlen, Steinway artist and piano professor at the University of Illinois, and a concerto with Valley Symphony Orchestra in Texas.
Dr. Yu-Chi Tai is current a Visiting Assistant Professor of Piano at University of Texas-Pan American. She earned her Artist Diploma and DMA degrees in Piano performance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2011, where she studied with Prof. Ian Hobson and served as his teaching assistant. Dr. Tai’s prior piano training was with Arnaldo Cohen and Evelyne Brancart at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she received the Master of Music degree and Performance Diploma with honors. Dr. Tai has participated in numerous master classes and worked with many internationally renowned artists, including Murray Perahia, Anton Kuerti, Claude Frank, Evgeny V. Malinin, Roger Vignoles, Zenon Fishbein, Volker Banfield, Maria Gambarian, Irina Voro, Boaz Sharon, Henk Guittart, Sarah Rothenberg, Klara Benjamin Belkin, and the Guarneri Quartet.