Associate Professor, Piano
Born in Cebu, Philippines, Albert Tiu has been called “an artist of uncommon abilities” by American Record Guide. His 2010 Centaur recording, “Nocturnal Fantasies”, featuring Chopin and Skryabin, was dubbed “one of the all-time great piano recordings” by Fanfare. “One of the most inventive recital programs ever seen or heard” (ARG), this “compelling and poetically imaginative recording” (Clavier Companion) was also hailed for “performances where heart and mind unite in a deeply affecting union” (Gramophone).
He studied with Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, with Michael Lewin at Boston Conservatory, and with Nita Abrogar-Quinto and Nelly Castro in the Philippines. A recipient of Juilliard's William Petschek Award and a prizewinner of competitions in Calgary (Honens), Helsinki (Maj Lind) and Santander (Paloma O’Shea), he won the First Prize and two concerto prizes in the 1996 UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa.
Known for his passion for innovative programming, he has presented recitals with themes like “The Classical Elements” (Earth, Air, Water and Fire), “Chopin without Chopin” (music by Godowsky, Busoni and Rachmaninov influenced by Chopin), and “Bee Flat” (the two Sonatas in B-flat by Beethoven). He has performed with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Hamburg Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, Gstaad Festival Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony, and Philippine Philharmonic. In 2005, he gave the Singapore premiere of Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto with the Singapore Symphony under Tang Muhai.
Recent recording projects include “The Classical Elements” on Centaur; Schubert’s “Winterreise” with tenor Alan Bennett; collaborations with violinist Kam Ning in "Road Movies", a Meridian disc featuring American composers; and with cellist Qin Li-Wei, in two discs on Decca of Beethoven and Rachmaninov.
He is absolutely addicted to Angry Birds, and in his spare time manages to practice some piano. This is a constant source of both humour and chagrin in the family. When it is in season, his addiction spreads to ice hockey, in which he supports the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“Centaur has produced, in my opinion, one of the all-time great piano recordings… Urgently recommended.”
- Fanfare (November/December 2011)
“Titled Nocturnal Fantasies, this is one of the most inventive recital programs I have ever seen or heard… Chopin and Scriabin work so well together that I’m surprised that I rarely see them combined on one disc – and never as well as this.
"All would be for naught if Tiu didn’t supply world class performances. He has the heart and soul of a true romantic pianist, as well as an abundance of technical skills. He can float a delicate melody one moment and rise to an impressive and exciting climax the next… His writing, based on superb program notes, supports his program-building ability quite nicely. He is a pianist I would go out of my way to hear in concert, and I will look for his future recordings.”
- American Record Guide (May/June 2011)
“He is sensitive and musicianly… and wittily alive… his subtlety and poetic commitment make you listen with new ears.”
- Gramophone (September 2011)
“Above all his playing exudes a golden tone that sounds as if it was made for 19th century Russia. Add an uncanny sense of timing, supple fingers that seem to be everywhere at once, pedalling that constantly enriches, and penetrating understanding into what makes Russian romantics tick, and you have an authentic mix for spectacular success.”
- The Advertiser, Adelaide, Australia (May 2011)
“From arguably the finest pianist resident in Singapore today came yet another thought-provoking piano recital… crafted his tribute toFrederic Chopin by performing some of the piano repertoire’s most daunting works inspired by the Polish master’s genius.
Overcoming the frightening multitudes of notes was a feat of digital dexterity and memory, but it was the fearless panache of delivery that remained topmost in the mind.”
- The Straits Times, Singapore (March 2011)