A nice article by Robin Olson in the recent Piano Technician’s Guild Foundation Focus Newsletter on our friend and Yamaha Artist Frederic Chiu
Frederic Chiu, featured pianist at the 2022 PTG Convention and Institute.
Yes, you read that correctly. This summer the Annual Convention and Institute will feature well-known pianist and educator Frederic Chiu participating in several activities. Besides being an excellent pianist, Mr. Chiu enjoys talking about technical aspects of piano work with piano students and piano technicians. This year’s Foundation Concert on Wednesday night will feature Chiu performing an interactive concert program called “Classical Smackdown: Heart and Soul, with music of Debussy and Prokofiev.” This concert will prove to be a fun way to look at classical piano music, and the audience will be able to vote for their favorite composer. Prior to the concert on Wednesday there will be a special fourth-period class called “A Master Class in Concert Prep.” It will be a panel discussion moderated by Eric Johnson, RPT, with four experienced masters in the concert field: Kathy Smith, RPT, Steve Brady, RPT, Ferdinand Braeu, and Frederick Chiu. Chiu and Braeu will be able to give us a firsthand account of their work together as they will have completed their preparation for the Foundation concert that
evening. An interesting fact is that the piano Chiu will be playing is a Bösendorfer 280VC
concert grand, and it will be the first time he has ever performed on a Bosendorfer VC.
The evolution of this idea began at Lancaster, when at the end of a class on concert
preparation, Eric Johnson treated us to a phone call with pianist Garrick Ohlsson, who talked about his experience performing at different venues and how a well-prepared piano is essential for a good performance. That was my first year on the institute committee, and I decided then that when I became director, I would create a similar class with a well-known pianist in attendance. And as long as we would be getting a concert pianist to come to the convention, I thought, why not have him play a concert? Then in Tucson, Institute Director Douglas Laing, who used a theme related to historical instruments, had a special Foundation concert with pianist Malcom Bilson performing on several historic fortepianos. This set a precedent for what I believe to be an institute theme-related concert on the first night of the institute. Since my theme
for this year is based on the idea that every technician can learn from concert tuning experiences, I found that selecting Frederic Chiu to perform a concert and participate in a class was fitting. Mr. Chiu has written articles and given lectures at other organizations on various aspects of piano technology and how they relate to pianists. The art of communicating with a pianist is an essential skill for all technicians, whether they are on the concert stage, at a teacher’s studio, or at the home of a serious pianist. Knowing how a pianist thinks about a piano and what we can do to facilitate that relationship will make us better technicians with happier clients. I also want to mention and thank Yamaha Corporation for providing the wonderful Bösendorfer VC and the services of Mr. Ferdinand Braeu from the Vienna Bösendorfer factory. Mr. Braeu started working in the factory in 1978 and has been a concert technician, technical teacher, manager, and director in the fields of manufacturing, product development, and artist relations. He has worked with artists such as Sir Andras Schiff, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Alfred
Brendl, Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea, and many others. His experience working with these artists and his hand in the development of the VC make him the perfect choice to be part of this special concert. For many of us, this will be our first opportunity to hear the fantastic Bösendorfer VC 280 “up close and personal.” As piano technicians, we go to piano concerts as much to hear the piano as we go to hear a particular pianist. So here is another good reason to make the trip to California this summer!
In addition to the Wednesday activities, Frederic Chiu will be part of a Disklavier
Presentation at Friday night’s Yamaha Party. On Thursday, Mr. Chiu will assist Steve Brady in a special class called “What Difference Does It Make?” In this class Steve will demonstrate, with the help of Frederic’s playing, how subtle changes to a piano can have a big effect on the feel and sound of the piano.
I want to thank the PTG Foundation for their generous financial contribution to this
event, and RPTs Fred Sturm and Douglas Laing for their enthusiastic support of this idea. Many thanks to Barbara Cassaday for her efforts in working on all the details to arrange for the funding for this event. I also want to thank David Durben, RPT, of Yamaha Corp. for his enthusiasm with the project and his help in making this a reality.
I hope this article will give you another reason to want to attend the 2022 PTG
Convention and Technical Institute this summer. The institute committee has created an excellent array of classes and instructors covering all aspects of piano service.
June 22 Foundation Focus
PTG Anaheim 2022 Artist in Residence
By Robin Olson, RPT, 2022 Institute Director