Saskatoon

Pianist Philip Chiu sings praises of classical music

One of Canada’s top pianists is in Saskatoon to let his fingers do the talking in an upcoming concert, but Phillip Chiu is also prone to singing the praises of classical music.

Saskatoon concert to begin with talk on how to love the genre

Philip Chiu was a guest today on CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning. (CBC)

One of Canada's top pianists is in Saskatoon to let his fingers do the talking in an upcoming concert, but Philip Chiu is also prone to singing the praises of classical music.

You can't force anything down someone's gullet.- Philip Chiu

Chiu is referred to as a "sociable pianist" known not only for his music, but also his rhetorical skills.

Chiu does not shy away from classical naysayers.

"I just ask them, have you given it much of a chance? Who have you listened to? Is it just Mozart and Beethoven?"

Chiu could easily let his resume do the talking. He is the winner of the most prestigious classical music award in Canada, the Prix Goyer. However, he's interested in helping to compose a new audience of classical music lovers by overcoming the genres reputation as being pretentious.

If it's known as stuffy Chiu suggested, then the musicians are partly to blame.

"We took for granted the audiences that we have, we took for granted people who already came to classical music with an understanding or where raised in a family that listened to classical music and we kind of forgot about all of the other people."

"What I try to do is take it down to a very human level," he said. "The fact is that music is a very primal thing, it's a primal language for all of us."

Musician wants people to slow down

Chiu admits that technology and the pace of modern life present a major challenge in trying to win over new fans to classical music.

"You can't force anything down someone's gullet; you can only just show them what's available; show them you love this."

Chiu will perform in Saskatoon at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church on Spadina Avenue on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. CST. Truthfully, his performance begins 45 minutes earlier, when Chiu offers a talk about his love of the music, and how others can come to love it too.   

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now