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Winston Choi

Chicago College of Performing Arts presents weeklong PianoFest October 13-20

Posted: 09/25/2012
There is more to today’s piano music than just solo performances and Roosevelt University’s fourth annual PianoFest in October will explore the many unique ways the piano complements and collaborates with string instruments.

The festival opens in Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 with “Piano Plus!”, a concert showcasing the collaboration among Chicago’s critically acclaimed Spektral Quartet, award-winning pianist Winston Choi (pictured above), assistant professor and head of piano at Roosevelt University, and celebrated violinist MingHuan Xu, an artist-teacher in Roosevelt’s Music Conservatory.
Intent on evaporating the perceived boundary between past and present, Spektral Quartet (pictured at right), one of the most innovative chamber groups on the Chicago musical scene, fuses music for string quartet with film, theater and poetry. Also champions of contemporary classical music, Choi and Xu have recorded and toured extensively all over the world as Duo Diorama.

“There’s this narrow view of the piano functioning only as a solo instrument, and pianists in general being lonely musicians. CCPA’s PianoFest will show its audiences how the roles of the piano and pianist are expanding in music today,” said Choi.

This year’s PianoFest will feature for the first time several headline double events. For example, on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m. is a concert commemorating Claude Debussy’s 150th birthday, featuring Six Epigraphes Antiques performed by Ludmila Lazar and Scott Gilmore, both faculty members in The Music Conservatory at Roosevelt.


The second headline event at 8:30 p.m. will feature Choi and Xu (pictured at left) performing the world premiere of The Invisible Compass for Violin and Piano, a new work about time by celebrated Chinese composer Huang Ruo, whose style draws from Chinese folk, Western avant-garde, rock and jazz music. Awarded the prestigious Luxembourg International Composition’s first prize in 2008, Ruo has been called “one of the most intriguing of the new crop of Asian-American composers” by the New Yorker.

“The music in this new work embraces the idea of Eastern and Western cultures meeting, taking classical music as we know it and melding it with Chinese traditional music,” said Choi.

The Invisible Compass will eventually become part of a one hour cycle, featuring 12 movements based on the 12 segments of the clock face.  The composer will be in attendance for the performance.

 Huang Ruo“Huang Ruo (pictured at right) is one of the brightest Chinese composers in the world right now,” said Julie Ma, board president of the Chinese Fine Arts Society, which is co-sponsoring the concert event. “He’s eclectic, interesting and very current and we are honored that he will be joining us for this very special world premiere.”  

PianoFest is free and open to the public. To view the entire festival schedule and its wide variety of programs, including a finale showcase recital by award-winning Roosevelt student pianists on Saturday, Oct. 20, visit or for more information call 312-341-2352.