February 6, 2024
By Micha Oostenbrink
Calgary-born pianist Kevin Chen may only be a teenager, but his growing number of awards tell a story of a talented prodigy. Over the past several years, Chen has won 1st Prize at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition (2023), the Geneva International Music Competition (2022), and the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition (2021). His professional career performing with orchestras began when he was just seven years old, earning him a spot on Maclean’s magazine’s “100 Remarkable Canadians” before he turned 10. His extraordinary talent on the keys has taken him to perform as a guest with orchestras across Canada, the United States, and Europe. On March 24 & 25, Kevin will return to the Winspear for the first time in almost five years to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5.
Beethoven’s fifth and final piano concerto, nicknamed “Emperor," marked the beginning of the composer’s “heroic” period. His works during this time were grand in size and scale, with soaring melodies and rich harmony. The “Emperor” showcases these characteristics, with a mighty opening, elegant middle movement, and playful finale. Spanning almost 40 minutes, this work brings the listener on a musical journey filled with drama and virtuosity.
Chen will be joined on the Winspear stage by prominent Swiss conductor Mario Venzago. Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Bern Symphony Orchestra from 2010-2021, Venzago regularly joins orchestras all over the globe as a guest conductor. He has made appearances with top orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, and London Philharmonic, among others.
The piano concerto will be accompanied by other musical delights on the program. The concert will begin with Rossini’s Overture from The Barber of Seville, a popular and energetic work that is full of enthusiasm. The second half of the performance will feature a number of waltzes and polkas by familiar composers, including Sibelius, Strauss, and Rossini. The finale will highlight can-can in Offenbach’s recognizable Overture to his opera, Orpheus in the Underworld.
Don’t miss Kevin Chen Plays Beethoven’s Emperor, presented by ATB Wealth, on March 23 & 24. Tickets are selling fast for this exciting performance – get yours before they are gone! Click here to purchase your tickets.