Sean Chen reflects on his Premiere Series experience


The American Pianists Association (APA) experience has been exciting and fulfilling, not to mention unique, since the format of this competition is unlike any other in the world. We, the five Finalists, are actually very good friends with each other from previous competitions and schools, so when we all arrived in Indianapolis in October for the APA workshops and showcases, it was like a reunion of sorts. I am honored to be one of the Finalists, and very happy to be part of the whole event.

Photo by Lamar Richcreek

When we come to Indianapolis for events, we’re put up with a host; actually, it is quite common to be put up in host families when we participate in competitions, both nationally and worldwide. I always prefer it to staying in a hotel because I can be a part of the community. Mr. Needler, my host in Indianapolis, is wonderful, takes great care of me, and drives me around to all of my events. I am grateful for his hospitality, and am sure that the other five Finalists feel exactly the same way about their hosts.

For the Premiere Series concert with Maestro Trevor and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, we only had one rehearsal, but that proved to be plenty of time to for us to get to know each other and collaborate. I very much enjoyed working with Maestro Trevor and the orchestra, and really loved playing for the audience. Everything in the hall was well taken care of – the piano technician made sure I was completely happy with the piano, and even worked around my practice schedule. Though the format of the concert was highly unusual and demanding (pianists generally are not asked to play a solo half-recital and then a concerto), I thought it was very effective and interesting for both me and the audience.

IMG_3999Photo by John Behringer

I thought one of the most special parts of the Premiere Series was being resident at a local High School. I was at Lawrence North, and had a very enjoyable time working with the students and Glen Hauger, the director there. It was great to see so many people who were excited by what I liked to do, and even more fun for me to get people excited about classical music and the piano who were not before. I hoped the students had as good of a time as I did, especially in preparing the Bach Concerto we performed.

IMG_8444_Group Shot

Photo by Daniel McCullough

I really thank all of the people involved at APA who do such a great job running this whole event, but moreover for their enthusiasm and support of musicians and music education. It was a great week, and I am very much looking forward to April!

Sean Chen, Finalist


Author: americanpianistsassociation

The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American jazz and classical pianists.

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