Hong Kong pianist Annie Yuen received her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Music with First Class Honours from the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), where she studied with Carol Yu and Nancy Loo. She was named the winner of HKBU Annual Concerto Competition in 2010 performing Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto, and was given Audience Choice Award. She continued her performance studies with Nancy Loo at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts as a visiting student, before finishing her Master’s degree in the summer of 2014 at Manhattan School of Music (New York) under the tutelage of Jeffrey Cohen. During her studies, she played in master classes by renowned pianists and pedagogues, including Nelita True, Edward Auer, Jean-Paul Sévilla and Collin Stones.
A keen collaborative pianist, Annie has rich experiences working with different musicians and chamber groups. She studied chamber music with Heasook Rhee and Gerald Robbins, and has worked for the studios of Lucie Robert, Robert Langevin, Marion Feldman and Paul Cohen, and recorded live with local young artists for Radio & Television Hong Kong. She is also an accomplished organist, obtaining the Licentiate (recital) from Trinity College London with distinction, has performed on the grand organ at Hong Kong Cultural Centre. She now leads a rewarding life of teaching and performing.
Notes from the Composer:
Since the beginning of time, music gave hope, encouraged and inspired humans for a fulfilling journey on the road of life. As an accessible and universal form of expression, many believe that music is an indivisible entity comprised of all the elements that our aural sense can grasp and distinguish. Yet, we tend to divide and organize music in perimeters and coordinates, giving it a local address close to where we live. Music does not have an address. The notion of time and progress do not apply to music – this is why now we can define even a part of centuries-old classical music as being new-age, or as being romantic, or expressionist, modern, minimalist, etc. If you will examine carefully the art of our most dear composers, you will find traces in their music of all these styles and even the genres of the future that we do not know yet how to describe. This is similar to the fact that we as human beings have already all the chemical elements in our own body – a microcosmos, that is a miniature mirror image of our universe.
The internet describes New Age as “a genre of music intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. The borders of this genre are not well defined.” To help understand its broad meaning, there are special keywords that are often associated with New Age: ‘nature sounds’, ‘travel’, ‘healing’, ‘meditation’, ‘world-dance’ and the list can go on. For readers who are initiated in electronic music, a similar concept is heard in the ambient genre, or the so-called ‘cosmic’ or ‘space’ music. In all of these, the composer and the sound-designer allow the music to spin freely and take its own, unhurried pace leading towards a spiritual experience.
The decision to give the name New Age to the album was somewhat accidental. No description can be true and complete. I am mostly against definitions or giving names to pieces because all such explanations limit and distort the object. What is the most important here is the unconditional acceptance of the music for what it is. The act of permitting oneself to immerse in the music could allow the listener to experience a lasting spiritual comfort, easiness, balance and safe shelter from the stress of the outside world. Some people may describe this type of music as a refuge, a shield against negative emotions. In my view, all good music, as we learned from the masterpieces of classical composers, can project a parallel, better world – more emotive, sincere and organized. I composed the New Age Album between November 2012 and February 2013. My biggest inspiration at that time was electronic music – a few month before starting the New Age Album, I presented a program of new compositions in the electronic medium at the Rowan University Planetarium. The creativity and the experimentation with the sound that I have experienced as a result of this new format and the unexpected possibilities of electronic expression helped change my conception of time and music space. So, when I began working on the New Age Album, I had a different approach to the process of composition. At that time, I felt that I was open to love and to write down on the page any ideas that came my way. I lived in a moment of positive and clear thoughts; some of them found their way into the music. The New Age Album stands out like an island of happiness and romantic nostalgia in the stormy sea of my other thoughts.
— Alexander Timofeev / Philadelphia, October 2015
New Age Piano Album
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