Named one of CBC’s Hot 30 under 30 Canadian Classical Musicians, Chinese-Canadian pianist Linda Ruan is passionate about sharing the potential of music to overcome boundaries across cultures. From Tokyo and Shanghai, to Toronto and New York, music has remained a grounding force in her diverse childhood. Since discovering music with drums at the age of four and then the piano at the age of seven, she has established herself as a musician with the ability to reach a wide variety of audiences. From solo performances as a prize winner at the Carnegie Hall, to appearances with orchestras such as the Xinghai Philharmonic Orchestra in Guangzhou, her career has taken her all across the world.
In addition to her solo performances, she formed the La Fiammata piano duo with fellow pianist Charissa Vandikas. They are prize-winners of the Suzana Szorenyi International Piano Duo Competition and the Northwest International Piano Ensemble Competition. They are also deeply committed to exploring the full potential of the piano duo instrumentation and expanding its repertoire. In May of 2019, La Fiammata won a commission sponsored by the Ontario Arts Council, and premiered “density swells upclose in breath” by Canadian composer Julia Mermelstein.
Furthermore, Linda launched the Vancouver Chapter for Suite Melody Care in September of 2020, an organization that involves youths to give back to the community through themed performances in local hospitals, long-term care, and retirement homes. Additionally, she is a Community Engagement Fellow at The Juilliard School where she continues her work with the Music Advancement Program, which actively seeks students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in classical music.
Linda received her Bachelor of Music with Honours from The Glenn Gould School in Toronto under the tutelage of James Anagnoson and Li Wang. Currently, she is studying at The Juilliard School in the studio of Hung-Kuan Chen.
Visit lindaruan.com, instagram.com/lindaruanpiano to connect with Linda online.
About the Performance
This is a small collection of some of my favourite works that I’m very excited to share with you. The Bach opens with a joyful prelude featuring intertwining voices and closes with a rather spiritual fugue, that grows bigger and bigger to a glorious ending.
And now we have two musical love letters – that are starkly contrasting. First is the first movement of Robert Schumann’s Fantasie in C Major. This was originally composed for Clara Schumann while they were apart, expressing his ardent love for her and includes an allusion to Beethoven’s song cycle An die ferne Geliebte (“To the Distant Beloved”). You can hear his turbulent emotions in the opening as well as the dreamy dialogue with Clara in the calmer second theme. I adore this romantic declaration of love for his distant beloved. By total contrast, Maurice Ravel wrote Ondine based on a series of poems by Aloysius Bertrand. The particular poem which inspired Ondine which is printed in the music is as follows:
Je croyais entendre
Une vague harmonie enchanter mon sommeil,
Et près de moi s’épandre un murmure pareil
Aux chants entrecoupés d’une voix triste et tendre.
Ch. Brugnot. – Les deux Génies
Écoute ! – Écoute ! – C’est moi, c’est
Ondine qui frôle de ces gouttes d’eau les
losanges sonores de ta fenêtre illuminée par
les mornes rayons de la lune; et voici, en
robe de moire, la dame châtelaine qui
contemple à son balcon la belle nuit étoilée
et le beau lac endormi.
Chaque flot est un ondin qui nage dans le
courant, chaque courant est un sentier qui
serpente vers mon palais, et mon palais est
bâti fluide, au fond du lac, dans le triangle du
feu, de la terre et de l’air.
Écoute ! – Écoute ! – Mon père bat l’eau
coassante d’une branche d’aulne verte, et
mes sœurs caressent de leurs bras d’écume
les fraîches îles d’herbes, de nénuphars et
de glaîeuls, ou se moquent du saule caduc
et barbu qui pêche à la ligne. »
Sa chanson murmurée, elle me supplia de
recevoir son anneau à mon doigt, pour être
l’époux d’une Ondine, et de visiter avec elle
son palais, pour être le roi des lacs.
Et comme je lui répondais que j’aimais une
mortelle, boudeuse et dépitée, elle pleura
quelques larmes, poussa un éclat de rire, et
s’évanouit en giboulées qui ruisselèrent
blanches le long de mes vitraux bleus.
I thought I heard
A faint harmony that enchants my sleep.
And close to me radiates an identical murmur
Of songs interrupted by a sad and tender voice.
Ch. Brugnot – The two Spirits
“Listen! – Listen! – It is I, it is Ondine who
brushes drops of water on the resonant
panes of your windows lit by the gloomy rays
of the moon; and here in gown of watered
silk, the mistress of the chateau gazes from
her balcony on the beautiful starry night and
the beautiful sleeping lake.
“Each wave is a water sprite who swims in
the stream, each stream is a footpath that
winds towards my palace, and my palace is
a fluid structure, at the bottom of the lake, in
a triangle of fire, of earth and of air.
“Listen! – Listen! – My father whips the
croaking water with a branch of a green
alder tree, and my sisters caress with their
arms of foam the cool islands of herbs, of
water lilies, and of corn flowers, or laugh at
the decrepit and bearded willow who fishes
at the line.”
Her song murmured, she beseeched me to
accept her ring on my finger, to be the
husband of an Ondine, and to visit her in her
palace and be king of the lakes.
And as I was replying to her that I loved a
mortal, sullen and spiteful, she wept some
tears, uttered a burst of laughter, and
vanished in a shower that streamed white
down the length of my blue stained glass
The Ondine depicts the water nymph Ondine, seducing a mortal man to visit her underwater kingdom. The watery atmosphere is painted beautifully by the constant crystalline figure in the right hand. When the man refuses, she laughs and cries before disappearing into the dewy air. You can definitely hear that one final outburst right before the end of the piece.
Finally, to end our program an etude by Chopin. He wrote, in his lifetime, a set of 24 etudes, musical studies that completely changed and revolutionized piano technique as well as what etudes can be. He turned these studies into little miniature character pieces, not only are they technically challenging but they’re musically difficult as well. So here’s a burst of fire with Chopin’s Torrent etude marked appropriately: Presto con fuoco.
An Instrumental Measures Musical Highlight
KnoxVan Events Presents Linda Ruan
A Free Virtual Performance
Tuesday, December 8 2020 7:30PM – Video Release 8:00PM – Performer’s Talk-back
Our Community Partner for this highlight is Rip N Stitch.
Rip N Stitch is a group of talented seamstresses and textile creators based out of Knox who create many hand made items including toques, mittens, kid’s pjs and quilts among many other items for sale and for the surrounding community who are in need.
If you would like to know more about the organization or purchase an item please use the contact us button on the Knox website.
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