Musical Chairs – YST Students in Canadian Chamber Music Festival

Four YST Conservatory students participated in the Musical Chairs Chamber Music Festival, held at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Bringing together musicians from seven institutions across four continents, the festival included workshops, concerts and masterclasses featuring top students from ConNext schools YST Conservatory, Schulich School of Music, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Sibelius Academy, Queensland Conservatorium, Norwegian Academy of Music, as well as Beijing Central Conservatory and the Mozarteum. 

Musical Chairs was truly a week of learning. It was especially meaningful that we were all strangers who came together to create music. It’s not just about music-making - it’s about human beings and our connections.
— Luong Khanh Nhi, BMus Year 3, Piano

It was a fantastic opportunity for the students, who got to experience life at another world-class music department. Through lessons and masterclasses with professors from the various participating institutions, they gained fresh insights on their repertoire prepared. Further, interacting with other students from all over the globe not only offered them new perspectives on their study and career trajectories, but also allowed them to network and build valuable relationships with fellow musicians.

Lim Yan, Senior Lecturer in Collaborative Piano at YST Conservatory who was also one of the Festival’s faculty coaches, commented, “The level of playing and performance was consistently high at the festival. Particularly impressive was the Saturday concert which featured our four YST students in four different chamber groups; each group consisting of members who were meeting for the first time and had just four days to prepare movements from major pieces in the repertoire for public performance. The excitement and chemistry between the players was palpable, as they drew inspiration from each other and put on an outstanding concert together.”

 Above: Arisa Ikeda (BMus Year 3, Violin) performing Beethoven's Piano Quartet in E-flat, Op. 60 at the Redpath Hall.

Above: Arisa Ikeda (BMus Year 3, Violin) performing Beethoven's Piano Quartet in E-flat, Op. 60 at the Redpath Hall.

Despite the challenge, accompanied by cold weather and jet lag, Ho Qian Hui (BMus Year 3, Viola) said that she learned a great deal from watching and playing with musicians from all around the world, as well as from professional ensembles. In particular, the intensive process of preparing a new work with a new group left a deep impression on her. "For my chamber group, we were all discovering Faure's Piano Quintet No. 2 for the first time. Over the course of the four days, It was really amazing to see how far we came from the first day when we read through the music together".

Featured photo: Arisa Ikeda, Kim Soyoung (BMus Year 3, Cello) with Luong Khanh Nhi (BMus Year 3, Piano) performing Schumann's Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor at the McCord Museum.