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Midsummer Reflections: new recital idea of music and travel

It has been a while since I have written, but I wanted to let you know what I have been up to lately.

This summer has been quite busy and life-changing for me, mainly on a personal level. I got married in June to my wonderful bride, Cindy Chang. We had a lovely ceremony and reception right outside of Los Angeles. As you can see in some of the pictures below, the venue had a beautiful backdrop of Santa Ynez Mountains!

Over the last few weeks, we have been settling into our new home in Cincinnati. Cindy started her new positions at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and University of Cincinnati as a pediatric emergency medicine fellow and a faculty attending physician respectively. As we were moving, we drove cross country from Los Angeles and passed by so many national parks including Zion National Park––definitely one of my all-time favorites. We hiked the Narrows, which is a river trail that leads into the Virgin River in Utah. And yes, we hiked in the river; what a memorable experience! If you haven't done the hike, I highly recommend it, though it was very crowded when we went. Fortunately, we were able to get a good hike in before the weather became too uncooperative due to thunderstorms and flash flood warnings.

To me, the notion of travel and connecting with nature are activities that I love outside of music. I have said many times before that I feel like they give a good recharge of the batteries and a rebirth, if you will, of the creative spirits. Naturally, I wondered what it would be like to curate a recital program of music inspired by life-altering travel. This solo piano recital program, Bon Voyage, will feature mostly nineteenth-century romantic composers: Milhaud, Poulenc, Chopin, and Liszt. For many of these composers, traveling was a life-changing, thought-provoking journey, and sometimes even, a risky ordeal. While Chopin was visiting Majorca, one of Spain's beautiful islands, he composed his masterpiece, Preludes, Op. 28. Unfortunately, his getaway was cut short because of a severe chronic illness. As a fear that he would infect the community, the island's practitioners evicted the foreigner off the island and burned all of his belongings, including his piano. Even worse, he had to ride with the pigs on the bottom deck of the ship as the captain feared for his health! If you want to learn the full details about this particular story, I highly suggest reading Chopin's Heart: The Quest to Identify the Mysterious Illness of the World's Most Beloved Composer, a book written by my good friend, Steven Lagerberg.

I plan to release this program in its entirety during the 2022-23 season, but I will be performing a few of these works during this upcoming year. Since last concert season was canceled, I will also be presenting some works from my other thematic recital program exploring protest and music, Odyssey of Dissent, in my concerts this year. Stay tuned as I plan to announce my 2021-22 season soon.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe here to receive monthly email updates on my performing activities and blogs on lesser-known works and teaching.


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