Eric Lin is only 16, but he’s already performing with an adult classical orchestra as he takes the stage with MusicaNova Orchestra this Sunday, February 16 for the Recapturing Youth concert at 4 p.m. at the Central United Methodist Church. The talented piano player won the opportunity to become a soloist with the orchestra after he was crowned champion of last year’s Steinway Avanti 2013 Future Stars Piano Competition, and he’s won a slew of other contests because of his deftness. You can hear him play Dmitri Kabalevsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 50 “Youth” at the show, which you can learn about here.
The Corona del Sol High School junior and Tempe resident is also talented at cello and serves as vice-president of his school’s Music for Cure club, which performs for places such as nursing homes. Lin talked about what motivates him to sharpen his musical skills and about his future goals. He also names his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in the video below.
What brought you to Arizona?
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri. We moved to Iowa City, Iowa for a year, but my dad got a job offer out here. We ended up moving here when I was 4 years old.
What got you into playing piano?
I started taking lessons when I was 6 years old. I have an older brother who is three years older than me, and he started playing when he was 6, too. When I was growing up, I would always listen to him play, and it really inspired me to want to play, also.
What has your piano playing been like since you first started lessons?
I’ve mainly been an individual pianist. I’ve grown up practicing almost every day. Every few months, I participate in competitions around Arizona, where I can choose what classical piece to play, that fits in a certain time requirement that I memorize. I also competed in California after winning a competition here in Arizona.
What inspired you to want to start playing cello?
I began playing cello in sixth grade as an elective in orchestra class. I chose cello because my brother also played it, and I thought it was the best out of the four-string instruments. I take an hour of private lessons once a week for cello, in addition to my piano private lessons.
What is Music for Cure like, and what made you want to be a part of it?
Other students and I perform at hospitals , nursing homes and retirement centers to play for the patients and their family members, doctors and residents. We play on holidays, weekends, or no-school days, about once a month. I like the idea of performing at these places because music has a magical healing power that can really help out the patients and doctors by reducing their stress and anxiety.
Also, most music events are held in symphony or concert music halls, and only a small percentage of these populations can actually go to those music events for a variety of reasons – doctors are busy, patients are in hospitals, and the retired people can’t go to music events easily. We bring the music to them.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever played?
It’s called Doumka by Tchaikovsky. It’s very emotional and dramatic, and I really love to play it.
What’s the most difficult piece you’ve ever played?
I’d have to say Chopin’s Ballade No. 3. It’s not only technically very hard, it’s also musically very challenging to play the right interpretation.
What are your goals with music?
I love playing piano, so I want to play it for the rest of my life. It has a lot of meaning to me. I’m not sure if I’ll study it when I go to college, but I’ll at least minor in it, and I’ll always have it as a hobby no matter what.
Why should people come see the concert?
The music sounds really great. It’s really lively and entertaining and definitely worth coming to hear. A lot of people don’t like classical, but I think if they listened to this piece, they would start liking it and listening to it more.
Who is your favorite composer?
My favorite composer is Frédéric Chopin because all of his pieces have a lot of depth and emotion. It’s very dramatic and flowing at times, and you can feel the emotions when you play.
Why should people consider trying to play piano?
I would say piano is the greatest instrument because you can do so many different things with piano. It’s really beautiful to listen to, and it’s fun to play. Unlike other instruments, where a lot of the time, you only play one note at a time, with piano, you can have one hand as the melody and one as the accompaniment, and you’re controlling both. It’s just really cool.
What tips do you have for beginning piano players?
Start off, of course, learning where all the notes are, then learn basic technique of playing. Develop your technique, then gradually, as you get better, branch out to harder pieces. Practice daily, and never give up.
What do you like about performing and competing?
I like both because I love piano, and I love music. I want the pieces I’m playing to be able to express my interpretation of the story, the emotion and the beauty within the piece for the judges or listeners. When I’m competing, I want to show how I see the music and have the judges enjoy what I have to show — it’s not about winning.
Learn more about Arizona Pro Arte Conductor and North Valley Chamber Orchestra Music Director Timothy Verville here on Phoenix People.