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  Chinese Way>Life

Modest musician

2013-06-14 10:52:55

(China Daily) By Xu Jingxi


Pianist Chen Sa, violinist Gidon Kremer and cellist Giedre Dirvanauskaite have just completed their tour of six Chinese cities. Photos provided to China Daily

Award-winning pianist Chen Sa does not want to be known as 'Piano Princess'. The low-profile performer tells Xu Jingxi she is proud of her imperfections.

Wearing an elegant purple dress and short sassy haircut, Chen Sa walked onto the stage, smiled, made a slight bow and sat in front of the piano. Throughout the two-hour concert while she played with Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer and Lithuanian cellist Giedre Dirvanauskaite, the Chinese pianist was restrained. While some other pianists, such as Lang Lang, energetically bend their bodies forward and backward and make strong facial expressions, Chen nods slightly, shrugs a little and pouts to the melody's flow.

Off stage, Chen keeps a low-profile, too. Although she is one of the three biggest names among young pianists in China, the other two being Li Yundi and Lang Lang, she hardly appears as the center of attention in entertainment news.

"There are inevitable connections between art and business but I don't know how to combine the two. Fortunately, as a soloist without my own orchestra or company to worry about, I'm 'privileged' to handle art and business separately," Chen says before the start of the concert with Kremer and Dirvanauskaite. The trio just toured six Chinese cities.

Chen has cut down her concerts to about 60 every year since 2010, compared to many soloists who stage more than 100 performances a year.

"The life of a pianist shouldn't only be about playing the piano. A musician needs to go through all kinds of experiences that can enrich his or her insights about life," Chen adds.

Going to exhibitions, hiking in the wilderness and reading fill up Chen's spare time. She is recently chewing Milan Kundera's Life Is Elsewhere, an epic of adolescence, and Shen Cong-wen's Random Notes of Traveling in Hunan, which uncovers the tragic lives of the laboring people.

The pianist also deepens her knowledge about life and society through social work. She performed for autistic children in Beijing in mid-May.

"Music shouldn't exist in concert halls only," Chen says.

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