music for cello & piano
Cello & Piano Duo Recital by Chen Yibai & Shi Boyang
WEDNESDAY 16 AUGUST 2023 (PART I)
FRIDAY 18 AUGUST 2023 (PART II)
VICTORIA CONCERT HALL
"Chen’s performance came down like a light, we were taken to another world." (Belgium “La Libre”)
Acclaimed, multi-prizewinning cellist Chen Yibai is emerging as one of the most promising cellists of his generation. His playing has been described as “nothing short of remarkable”, “a flawless technique yet displaying sincere tenderness and sensitivity” and “a personal sound and true stage presence”. His most recent achievement was winning the second prize at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth International Cello Competition in Brussels in 2022.
Chen is playing on a cello by Joseph Guadagnini ca .1780-1800 on loan of German Foundation “Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben Hamburg”. For his Singapore debut, he will present over two evenings the complete works for cello and piano by Beethoven, which collectively chart the composer’s creative development throughout his life. If Bach’s six cello suites are often referred to as ‘the cellist’s bible’, this bible would consist of two books, the second comprising Beethoven’s five sonatas for piano and cello. Before Beethoven wrote the first sonatas, there were virtually no works in which the cello fully broke away from its subservient role of basso continuo to become an equal partner to the piano. They are works of extraordinary breadth and grandeur.
Chen will be partnered in these recitals by his regular musical collaborator, pianist Shi Boyang who is a faculty member at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and grand prize-winner in the Kissinger Klavierolymp at the Kissinger Sommer festival in Germany.
16 August 2023
Part I –
7 Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, WoO 46
Cello Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op. 5 No. 1
12 Variations on “See The Conqu’ring Hero Comes” from Handel's Judas Maccabaeus, WoO 45
Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69
18 August 2023
Part II –
12 Variations on "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Op. 66
Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 5 No. 2
Cello Sonata No. 4 in C major, Op. 102 No. 1
Cello Sonata No. 5 in D major, Op. 102 No. 2
(Programme subject to change at the artists' discretion)
CHEN YIBAI, cello
“Yibai Chen impressed me enormously from the first moment I heard him. He is a tremendous talent!” — Daniel Hope
"Chen’s performance came down like a light, we were taken to another world." — Belgium “La Libre”
Prize-winner of four international cello competitions, Chen Yibai is emerging as one of the most promising cellists of his generation. His playing has been described as “nothing short of remarkable”, “a flawless technique yet displaying sincere tenderness and sensitivity” and “a personal sound and true stage presence”.
At the age of 16 in 2018, Chen was awarded two top prizes at the 10th Lutoslawski International Cello Competition in Warsaw and the 60th George Enescu International Cello Competition in Bucharest in the same year as the youngest participant. In June 2019 he won the fifth prize at the 16th Tchaikovsky International Cello competition in Saint Petersburg. Chen’s most recent achievement was in June 2022 by winning the second prize at the 2nd Queen Elisabeth International Cello Competition in Brussels.
Chen has recently performed numerous successful concerts such as playing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with Belgium National Orchestra under the baton of Eivind Aadland on a Belgium tour; recitals with pianist Shi Boyang on a China tour; and a Korea tour with cellist Hayoung Choi and pianist Liebrecht Vanbeckevoort. Chen was also exclusively invited by conductor Teodor Currentzis to be part of his newly founded Utopia Orchestra’s very first tour project in Europe. On 29 December 2022 in Beijing, Chen performed the China premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Cello Concerto with China Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Yu Long at the 2023 New Year’s Concert.
Chen has extensive musical experience since his early years. In 2013 and 2015 he was selected for Morningside Music Bridge, an international music campus presented by Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. In 2016 he participated in a masterclass given by Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt at Cello Akademie Rutesheim and he was chosen to perform Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen with Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim at the closing concert of the festival. Since the age of 11, he started performing frequently with Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Tang Muhai.
Since winning his first international prize in 2018, Chen was invited to perform at many prestigious festivals and concert venues. He performed Haydn’s C major Cello Concerto with Amadeus Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Agnieszka Duczmal at the “Chopin and His Europe” festival in Warsaw. In 2019 June he performed Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz directed by Eckart Manke. In August he performed Haydn’s D major Cello Concerto at Brooklyn Theatre in South-Africa with Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gina Beukes and was immediately invited back to perform with Cape Town Philharmonic and to give a recital in Pretoria. In September he was invited to play at the renowned “George Enescu Festival” with Banatul Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Nicolas Piovani. In November at the opening concert of "Viva Cello” festival in Moscow, he performed Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso No. 1 with Danjulo Ishizaka and German cellist Claudio Bohorquez with Russian Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Maciej Tworek. In the same month he performed Brahms’ Double Concerto with violinist Ning Feng and Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Liu Peng. He has also given performances at the 4th International Shanghai Cello Festival. In the 2020-21 season, Chen has collaborated often with pianist Shi Boyang and played recitals in the Shanghai Symphony Concert Hall, Shanghai Concert Hall, Jiangsu Grand Theatre, and so on. In July 2021, he was invited to play Philip Glass’ Cello Concerto No. 1 as his debut with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra directed by Yu Long at the closing concert of the 12th “MISA” Music Festival.
Chen was born in 2001 and embarked on his cello journey since he was five years old and trained under Professor Liu Meijuan in Music Middle School Affiliated To Shanghai Conservatory Of Music until the end of 2016. In 2017 he moved to Berlin to study with Professor Danjulo Ishizaka at the University of the Arts Berlin. Currently Chen continues his studies with Prof. Ishizaka at the University of Music Basel. He has taken part in masterclasses given by David Geringas, Jens Peter Maintz, Wang Jian, Martti Rousi, Qin Liwei, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Gabriel Schwabe, Wen-Sinn Yang; violinist Daniel Hope and pianist Jacques Ammon.
Chen is playing on a cello by Joseph Guadagnini ca .1780-1800 on loan of German Foundation “Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben Hamburg”.
SHI BOYANG, piano
Chinese pianist Shi Boyang’s performances have been regarded as “excellent interpretations of the works, demonstrating rigorous thought” (Hannover Zeitung), “[her] instantaneous change of tone and its subtlety were astonishing!” (Main Post).
Shi has successfully performed in various regions of the world, including the Salle Cortot, Warsaw National Philharmonic Hall, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Shanghai Symphony Concert Hall, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Shanghai Concert Hall, Guangzhou Opera House, Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts, Tianjin Grand Theater, Tianjin Concert Hall, Chengdu City Concert Hall, Xi’an Concert Hall, Zhongshan Culture and Art Center, Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Center, Bay Opera of Shenzhen, Wuxi Grand Theater and other venues.
The highlights of the last two years include the New Year Concert with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and the Spring Festival Concert with the Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra in 2023 as soloist, and the “Dream of back to Paris” solo piano tour in 2022, which took her to six cities across China, including solo premieres at the Guangzhou Opera House. In addition to solo concerts, Shi Boyang has been active as a chamber musician, working closely with Nobuko Imai, Tomas Riebl and many other musicians, and in 2022, she has successfully toured China with young cellist Chen Yibai playing a total of ten concerts. In the unusual year of 2020, Shi was invited to present the complete Beethoven sonatas for piano and violin with violinist Fenny Liu Fanglei at Tianjin Concert Hall to commemorate the 250th birth anniversary of Beethoven, which was highly praised by the industry and music lovers.
Shi Boyang has been invited to give solo concerts at international festivals such as the most prestigious Kissinger Sommer, Bad Sobernheim, Hanover Chopin Association, Hamburg Chopin Association, and so on. Her solo concerts have been broadcasted by BR-Klassik, ARD, NDR, and other many German radio stations. She has performed with Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra, Macau Orchestra and Chamber Orchstra Sinfonietta Cologne. She has also collaborated with conductors such as Ouyang Wangjian, Jian Qijian and Cornelius Frowein.
She has participated in and won many prizes in the world’s top competitions such as the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in the USA. For example, she was the only Asian finalist to win the 14th Hanover Chopin International Piano Competition, and was a prizewinner in the 6th China International Piano Competition in 2013. In 2014, she was invited to participate in the Kissinger Klavierolymp at the Kissinger Sommer, where she won the grand prize with several top young pianists of her time. The award-winning concert was broadcast live on Bayerischer Rundfunk (Germany).
Shi studied with Prof. Lei Ma and then enrolled in the Primary School of the Central Conservatory of Music and studied with Prof. Zhang Zhiwei. She was guaranteed admission to the Middle School of Central Conservatory of Music in 2006.
In 2010, she went to Germany to study at the University of Music, Drama and Media Hanover and the University of Music Detmold in Germany. She studied with the famous German piano pedagogue Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, the distinguished Israeli pianist Arie Vardi and the famous contemporary pianist Alfredo Perl, and received the highest diploma (PhD) in German music industry in 2019. Shi has also benefited from several masters such as Paul Badura-Skoda, Matti Raekallio, Klaus Hellwig, Andrew Jasinski, Zhou Guangren, Li Qifang and Wu Ying.
Since 2018, Shi Boyang moved to Shanghai and became a faculty member of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.