Constantly innovating in his audience-building approach to programming, this season Frederic Chiu is presenting "Classical Smackdown", a multi-year series where composers face off in head-to-head comparisons, with the audience voting for their preferred composer. The Smackdown this season is between Debussy and Prokofiev. Results are being tracked at ClassicalSmackdown.com.
He appears this season in numerous concerts for the Adams Foundation, as well as in South America, France and China. In addition, he presented a unique program in NYC, "Hymns and Dervishes", music by Gurdjieff/de Hartmann, and is preparing it for his next recording. He is appearing as guest artist in pedagogy conference across the US, including in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Iowa and Illinois. Recent seasons have seen him in Washington DC, the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, the Cartagena Music Festival in Colombia, Memphis, Omaha, Des Moines, Portland, ME, Jacskonville, Carmel, CA, Syracuse, and San Francisco and performances with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, with Philharmonia Virtuosi, the Elgin Symphony and the Dayton Philharmonic. Mr. Chiu was a featured artist at the Valery Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam. He performed the rarely played Left Hand Concerto of Prokofiev with the BBC Scottish Symphony, the Estonia National Symphony and the Riverside Symphony at Lincoln Center in New York. He also toured in Japan and China, and has done extensive tours of South America.
His concert activities include a large amount of chamber music. With the violinist Philippe Graffin, he created the festival "Consonances" in Saint Nazaire, France. He collaborates with Gary Hoffman, Matt Haimovitz, David Krakauer, Charles Neidich, Anton Nel, Jeremy Menuhin, the St. Lawrence Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, Blair Quartet and Daedalus Quartet, and was a perennial favorite of the Newport Music Festival.
Frederic Chiu has released over 20 CDs, most recently the solo version of Carnival of the Animals. His catalogue includes diverse works by Chopin, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Grieg, Rossini, Ravel, Schoenberg, Schubert and Brahms. The complete piano works of Prokofiev in ten volumes filled a large gap in the recorded catalogue, and has been cited as a reference in publications from Fanfare Magazine to the Wall Street Journal to France's Elle magazine. His release of three rarely played sonatas of Mendelssohn was chosen "Record of the Year" by Stereo Review. Recordings soon to appear include transcriptions of Beethoven Quartets and the Fifth Symphony.
His first CD, a recital of piano transcriptions, marked him as a champion of this under-explored repertoire, in the model of his teacher, Abbey Simon. Frederic was invited by Leonard Slatkin to open the National Symphony Orchestra's season with the Beethoven/Liszt Symphony V, which was met with a standing ovation. His own arrangements, including pieces from Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije Suite and Bach, have had rousing success in concert and on record.
A recipient of prestigious awards - the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Petscheck Award, and the American Pianists Association Fellowship - it was the lack of a certain award that first brought him international notoriety; in a rare foray into the competition circuit, his elimination before the final round of the 1993 Van Cliburn Competition roused enormous protest; prominent stories in the New York Times referred to him as the "Maverick American Pianist." Recently, he has moved to the other side of the table, sought after as a judge for national and international competitions, including the American Pianist Association, the Utrecht International Liszt Competition, the e-Competition and the Van Cliburn Outstanding Amateur Competition.
Frederic Chiu has always reserved a special place for the violin/piano repertoire. He grew up with a violinist brother and worked closely with Josef Gingold at Indiana University. He plays with Pierre Amoyal who is also a regular recording partner, and Joshua Bell, whom Frederic has toured with in the US, Europe and South America. They recently gave the world premiere of a work commissioned from Edgar Meyer. Joshua Bell's latest release – The Voice of the Violin – includes a guest appearance by Frederic Chiu, which has been singled out as a highlight of the album.
A Yamaha Artist for over 20 years, Frederic Chiu had the honor of presenting the new CFX Concert Grand Piano in its world debut. His collaborations with Yamaha include a number of Disklavier recordings of Chopin, Prokofiev and Debussy.
Eager to bring serious music to a larger audience, he makes special presentations for children and also collaborates with personalities outside the traditional realm of his field, including Young and the Restless star Eric Braeden, Tony Award-winning Shakespearean Brian Bedford, French movie idol Sami Frey, psychologist/writer/clown Howard Buten and hip-hop artist Socalled. His latest project with storyteller/poet David Gonzalez – a 21st Century update on Saint-Saëns' classic Carnival of the Animals – mixes virtuoso pianism with David's modern poetry and special animation.
Frederic Chiu's activities as a teacher are highly demanded, both in private and in masterclasses. His Deeper Piano Studies program – an unusual, philosophic and holistic approach to music and piano playing – draws together concert pianists, promising students and piano teachers from around the world for innovative and original workshops. The American Pianist Association and the Utrecht Liszt International Piano Competiton have incorporated DPS workshops into their programs. His innovative masterclasses and lectures – on Practicing without a Piano, Emotional Practicing or Stage Fright, etc – have been presented at the Juilliard School, Indiana University's Jacob School of Music, the New England Conservatory, Bard College and the Banff Centre. He is a favorite of music teachers, having been invited as guest artist for numerous state and national conference.