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Chenyang Xu

Award-winning student pianist from China to take stage at Auditorium Theatre on April 9

Posted: 03/29/2013
When soloist Alice Chenyang Xu takes the stage on April 9 at the Auditorium Theatre to perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s technically challenging and musically expansive Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, it will be the moment she has been waiting for in more ways than one.

 “It is a great ending for me and my years here at Roosevelt University,” said Xu, 25, who came to the U.S. from China at 16 years of age, studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia before entering Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) in 2009.

Not only will Xu be performing as a soloist for the first time on stage at the Auditorium Theatre with the CCPA Symphony Orchestra for its biggest concert of the year, Vivid 2013, she also will be graduating from Roosevelt with a bachelor’s degree in music in May.

“It is the moment I’ve been waiting for and I feel I’m nervous but I’m excited and thrilled to be able to play for the entire University, all my friends and my mom who is coming from China,” said Xu, the winner of the college’s 2012 solo competition and a winning soloist for CCPA’s annual Piano Fest student showcase for the past four years.

A native of Chengdu, China, Xu received a piano as a gift from her parents when she turned one year old and has been playing the instrument regularly since the age of six.

“The piano has always been there for me, but it wasn’t until these last years that I truly began to realize how much joy playing music can bring me,” said Xu, who readily acknowledges facing many struggles in adapting to life, culture and society in the United States.
The soloist will perform the Rachmaninoff piece that is based on a melody by the 19th century violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini during the free concert that begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9.

“She’s been a winner in every piano showcase we’ve had and she is a real advocate for our piano program,” said Winston Choi, one of Xu’s professors and head of piano at Roosevelt. “More than that she is someone who combines instinctive playing with expression and careful intellectual work. She’s someone who really has something to say through her music.”

Xu studied for several years at Curtis Institute with Meng-Chieh Liu before making the decision to come to Chicago to study at Roosevelt with the CCPA piano faculty member. “It was an unusual step for her to make, but I am very glad that she did it: She has become an artist who cares more about moving people with music than one who simply plays the piano,” Liu said.

Xu also can be heard performing Robert Schumann’s Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17, from her final undergraduate recital, on Sunday, April 7 during WFMT radio’s “Music From Roosevelt University” series with CCPA Dean Henry Fogel. The program regularly airs from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
“My years at Roosevelt have helped me to grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally as a person and to become a better human being,” said Xu. “ To me, music is ultimately about helping people to achieve a well being and I want my music and playing to deliver that kind of message, granting those who hear it the energy and power to move forward just as I have.”
Tickets to this free event are required and may be picked up at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office (50 E. Congress Parkway), Monday through Friday, 12 to 6 p.m. Tickets also can be reserved (with a $1 service fee) through