piano & fortepiano
Shuann Chai is an active and engaging performer, recognised for her interpretations on a wide range of historical pianos as well as the modern piano.
She began piano lessons at age 5 in a group class at the local YWCA and had a number of wonderful teachers in her early years, including Jack Radunsky, a former student of the pianist/composer Percy Grainger. Shuann earned degrees from Oberlin (majoring in Biology, as well as Piano with a Fortepiano minor) and the New England Conservatory. She also had the privilege of private studies with pianists such as Norma Fisher and Claus-Christian Schuster, and worked extensively with Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti.
As a soloist and chamber musician she has performed in the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), De Doelen (Rotterdam), the Orlando Festival (Limburg, Netherlands); Festival La Folle Journée, Suntory Hall, Izumi Hall, (Japan); Bach en Combrailles, the American Church of Paris (France); Troldsalen (Norway), National Concert Hall (Taipei), St. Cecilia’s Hall (Edinburgh), Jordan Hall (Boston), and the Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing), to name but a few.
Shuann has given masterclasses and lecture recitals at institutions such as Temple University, the University of California at Davis, CodArts Rotterdam, the Conservatorium of Amsterdam, Gulanyu Piano Academy (Xiamen, China) and Central Conservatory in Beijing. She has also been active in community outreach on both sides of the Atlantic, having performed hundreds of concerts in care facilities, senior living centers, music schools, and libraries.
In 2012 Shuann’s debut CD of three Beethoven Sonatas on the fortepiano was released, garnering enthusiastic reviews in publications such as Fanfare Magazine (“...bristling with excitement... a real ear-opener”), BBC Music Magazine (“Stimulating... Chai has a keen sense for the colouristic possibilities of her instrument”), and the Classical Music Sentinel (“...played with a determination and urgency that makes Beethoven’s music sound larger than life”). Future recording projects include a CD of early songs by Alban Berg with contralto Noa Frenkel as well as a recording of Brahms's chamber music with violinist Shunske Sato and cellist Hidemi Suzuki.
Among other things, Shuann Chai is grateful for having three inspiring musical companions: a concert grand Steinway signed by jazz legends Herbie Hancock and Ahmad Jamal; an original Érard piano (1861), and an original 1820 Rosenberger fortepiano, generously provided on permanent loan by the National Musical Instruments Foundation of the Netherlands (NMF).