Pianist Philip Chiu sings praises of classical music
Saskatoon concert to begin with talk on how to love the genre
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.