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Avenue to Stardom

August 26, 2010

  Fellow sonic nomads, can I gush a bit?  I want you to meet Avan Yu.

Had I not sat next to his uncle at a concert several years ago (who insisted I catch Avan’s performance the following symphony season) I know I wouldn’t have paid him any attention.   

But, I went.  And got to experience a fireball performance of Sergei Prokoviev’s Piano Concerto No.2 as a reward.  I don’t think anyone in the sadly sparse audience that night was ready for what was unleashed over us – a feverish intensity delivered with such single-minded commitment that the memory of it still gives me goosebumps even as I sit here and write this.

Word must have got around, because when Avan returned the year after to play Sergei Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, it was a near full house.   

And now, just a few years later, I’m excited to see that he’s opening the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s 2010/2011 season, an honor he’s quite worthy of.  (He’ll be playing the Camille Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No.5, “the Egyptian” – a piece I’d be interested in hearing him play given I only know how thoroughly he attacks the Eastern Block 20th Century composers, not the French Romantic.)    

He’s still early in his career, but someday I’ll be glad to say, “I heard him when…”

Here’s an older video of him playing Frederic Chopin’s Polonaise Fantasie Op.61:


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