Renowned pianist comes to BC

Marcus Castro, Editor in Chief

Renowned pianist Sean Chen came to Bakersfield College to perform and share his story to students, faculty and people of Bakersfield community on Oct. 2.

Chen is a 26-year-old American pianist who has been playing piano for about 22 years. He began playing when he was 5-years-old, taught by lessons from a teacher.

Chen won third prize at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He was awarded the Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship of the American Pianists Association in 2013. Another accomplishment of his is that the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund named him fellow for the Performing Arts in 2015.

After high school, Chen attended The Juilliard School. “Being around the talent and the skill at Juilliard is more important than the school itself,” said Chen.

Chen explained that after winning in APA and after placing third in Cliburn, he gets three years of management. He said that after the three years are up; he will be talking to professional companies to see if he can work with them.

When asked where his passion comes from Chen said, “I really like music, and I really react to harmonies. I actually tell people that video games kind of kept me in music.”

Chen performed a mixture of video game songs. He played several songs from different video games and transitioned between them so that it sounded as if it was one piece.

Chen talked about his career thus far and how Cliburn was for him.

“The hard thing is differentiating yourself and getting people to create buzz about you,” said Chen.

Chen explained some of his preparation for Cliburn. He said that there was around 4 hours and 40 minutes worth of music to play.

“I played a lot of those pieces consistently as I was going through school, so when I played it, it brought it back,” said Chen.

Chen talked about how he practices and prepares to play a piece. He said that he enjoys reading pieces, so he read other pieces that are by the same composer of the piece he is learning.

“When the technique is at a point where it is adaptable, then you leave it alone. As long as you don’t over practice and get OCD, hurt yourself, or get Carpal Tunnel. You need to know when to stop,” said Chen.

Towards the end of the discussion Chen played Primavera by: Nikolai Medtner. After he finished, there were whispers of compliments from some of the people in the audience.

After the discussion and performance, they moved everyone to another area where they had a short reception.

The next day Chen performed with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra as the featured soloist at the Rabobank.