Fou Ts'ong, piano

Saturday, October 7, 2000, 8 PM
at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall


Ticket price: $28, $23, $18

Program: (subject to change)

Beethoven: 6 Bagatelles Op.126
Schubert: Sonata in A minor D845
Chopin: Bacarolle in F# major, Op.60
2 Nocturnes Op.62, Nos. 1 and 2
3 Mazurkas Op.63, Nos. 1,2, and 3
Polonaise-Fantasie in Ab major, Op.61

Meet the Artist: Fou Ts'ong

In the 1930's, Shanghai was one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world. Fou Ts'ong was born in 1934. His father was Fou Lei, a famous scholar and an unyielding opponent of injustice. The family possessed the latest recordings of the great pianists of that time. Lei was involved in translating great French novelists and philosophers into Chinese. An Italian piano professor taught Fou Ts'ong, who provided the accompaniment for a church choir in a performance of Messiah for his first appearance in public. Rapid musical developments followed a family decision to support his intensive studies, Fou having agreed to give up his former role as a advocate activist. In 1953 he moved to Europe, where the Warsaw Conservatory professors were amazed at his intuitive grasp of mazurka rhythm, elusive to even the best trained Western pianist. Major awards, including the Chopin Competition in Warsaw led him to the class of Zbigniew Drzewicki, who regarded Fou's talent as natural; teaching by way of suggestions only. A favorite with many of the world's foremost conductors, his regular London recitals inevitably include many of today's legendary pianists in the audience; a clear sign that his great art is appreciated and admired not just by the public and press, but also by his peers.
The 1960s witnessed insane tumults in China, touching Fou most deeply with the tragic loss of his parents. Every critical accolade has greeted him. TIME magazine called him the greatest Chinese musician alive today. Hermann Hesse called him the only true performer of Chopin. His recording of Chopin's Nocturnes won the instrumental prize of the Japanese critics. Aware of many traditions, but part of none, Fou Ts'ong regards the object of his performances as the complete realization of the score. His insistence on the importance of every marking would be didactic were it not for him the only truth in music. In conversation he might be judged as a thinker, in performance emotional involvement in the music seems total. Often, he refers to the masters of Chinese painting, their linear precision rendering what is universal from a prospective that is immediate and part of the landscape, and, like a bird in flight, above it and yet part of it.
Fou Ts'ong returned in the fall of 1998 to perform in China for the first time since 1989. His tour included festivals in Beijing and Shanghai as well as master classes. All the proceeds from the tour were donated to the flood victims. He also participates in the Argerich-Beppu Festival in Japan and performs in North America and Canada in the New Year of 1999. His recordings of solo piano music by Mozart and Schumann as well as piano concerts by Mozart and Chopin have recently been issued by Carlton Classics. Fou Ts'ong has been part of the jury at international piano competitions which include Leeds, Queen Elizabeth, Geneva, Chopin, Dino Ciani, etc. He teaches every year at the International Foundation for Young Pianists at Como, Italy.


A Letter to Dear Music Lovers

Fou Ts'ong is a dear friend of ours. For us, the insiders, he is one of the great pianists of our time. Many of his interpretations are outstanding and should be taken as guidelines for the young generation of musicians. Our situation, as interpreters of classical music, differs artistically, psychologically and socially from the situation of painters, poets and other artists. Our music has been composed up to 250 years ago within various European nations with different historical backgrounds. In concert we feel the breath of people of today, who, some hours earlier had been involved in various other activities, be it politics, labor, science, commerce, etc., and who represent the highs and lows of the modern world. We, the musicians, are involved in this only indirectly.
As interpreters of classical music we are tied to the written compositions with all their precise instructions, which stand out like monuments, we also face older generations of interpreters, our teachers, and finally, we are confronted with the history of music. With this background in mind we try to express our own feelings, insights and emotions. In comparison, painters and poets work in almost unlimited freedom. The musicians move in a basically western cultural surrounding. It is well known how difficult it is for us to grasp an understanding of Eastern art and philosophy. But there is a deep correlation between the humanism of the East and our classical musical heritage as "world language." Fou Ts'ong has the great gift of a natural musical talent, accompanied by wonderful manual skills. He also has the very rare gift to identify himself von Mensch zu Mensch, with the great masters of classical compositions. This identification is not only emotional, but also intellectual, there, Fou Ts'ong became one of the great teachers of our time. We are obliged to Fou Ts'ong for all his new ideas and for opening new musical horizons for all of us. ...... It is our wish that the relationship between the world of music lovers and Fou Ts'ong will be deepened.

Martha Argerich, Bruxelles
Leon Fleishier, Baltimore
Radu Lupu, Lausanne

Fou.jpg (36112 bytes)


Fou Ts'ong, piano   -   Saturday, October 7, 2000,   8 PM   -   at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall

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