Piano man

A life-long love of music saw Dr Timothy Chiang of Burwood Dental Centre in Melbourne become a finalist at the 2016 Australian National Piano Award

“To apply for the Australian National Piano Award [ANPA], I had to send in a 30-minute recording of myself playing three different styles of classical music. The recording was assessed by a panel of judges and I was chosen as one of 12 finalists to perform live in concert. The other 11 finalists were full-time musicians who were currently studying, or had graduated from music conservatoriums in Australia and overseas.

“We each played two 45-minute recitals chosen to demonstrate technical mastery and artistic talent. From the 12 finalists, three major prizes were awarded. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive a prize but the 2016 ANPA has been a most enjoyable and invaluable experience.

“My mum is a piano teacher. I started lessons with her when I was five, and in high school continued with Mikhail Solovei who has been a great inspiration. Once you reach a certain level of technical proficiency, you begin to really discover the music and the broad range of emotions, insights and subtleties that it speaks and expresses.

“I considered studying music professionally but in the end chose to study dentistry. I took a break from formal piano lessons at this time though I had always planned to resume music after completing my degree. I still played for myself during uni, and it ended up being an experimental period musically, helping me to mature further.

“After uni, I applied for a fellowship in piano performance with Trinity College London. The college sent an examiner to listen and record me playing a 50-minute recital. A panel in London assessed the recording and I was awarded the fellowship. These days I mainly perform with the Musical Society of Victoria and in various national and international competitions. I also had the opportunity of performing live on 3MBS FM in one of its series for emerging musicians. At my church, I play contemporary Christian music, which focuses mainly on improvisation—playing around with different sounds and harmonies.

“The piano is a versatile instrument, capable of producing a wide range of textures and colours with a broad register. It’s also one of the few truly solo instruments where all the music produced is by the soloist. Music is about communicating a vast range of emotions as well as more subtle ideas and insights. When done well, it’s a very powerful and rewarding experience for both the audience and performer.”

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