A doctoral student in music wins 3 international online piano competitions

23 November 2021

Ka Hou “Tommy” Chan, DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Arizona State University, has received top prize in three international online piano competitions.

Chan was awarded the first prizes of the International Northern Music Competition in Sweden, the International Golden Classical Music Awards and the International Music Competition “Grand Prize Virtuoso” in Salzburg, Austria, in 2020 and 2021.

Ka Hou “Tommy” Chan
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Chan, an international student from Macau, received his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance in 2017 from ASU, where he studied with Baruch Meir, an associate professor in the School of Music, Dance and Drama. After earning his Masters of Music from Texas Christian University, Chan returned to ASU to complete his doctoral studies.

“Despite the pandemic and having to take all of Macau’s online lessons for over a year, Tommy has made great achievements in his career,” Meir said.

Chan said, “I doubted the online lesson could provide the same experience as the in-person instruction. Even though the sound delivery may not reach the same quality as teaching in person, Dr Meir has given me a great experience with online piano lessons. I learned a lot about many musical aspects and interpretations of the piano.

Since 2013, Chan has been sponsored by the Office of Cultural Affairs in Macau for studying abroad and has received many distinguished scholarships and awards. He has participated in master classes and international festivals such as the Schlern International Music Festival in Italy and the White Nights International Piano Festival in Russia.

Chan began his musical studies at the age of 7. In 2007 and 2008, he studied with Jun Yang, former president of the Beijing Central Music Conservatory. He won first prize at the China National Piano Competition in Guangzhou at the age of 12 and made his concerto debut with an orchestra at the age of 14, playing the “Yellow River”. Piano Concerto. In the same year he was accepted into the pre-university program of the Escola de Musica do Conservatorio in Macau. (Macao Conservatory Music School).

“I chose ASU to further my music studies because of the distinguished music faculty and top-notch facilities,” Chan said. “Like most performance specializations, I choose a school based on the teacher and I am fortunate to have studied with Dr Meir for my undergraduate degree and now my current graduate degree. The one-on-one experience influenced me artistically, musically, pianistically and in many other ways to become a better musician and pianist.

Meir said that since international competitions attract students from all over the world, they often require a higher level of performance. In the United States, he said he sees the Music Teachers National Association competition as a very strong competition because it represents leading teachers and schools from across the country.

“Students should participate in competitions as part of their learning experience and as a motivator for their personal growth,” Meir said. “Competitions can be a stepping stone, but you have to be careful not to let them affect you negatively in case you don’t win. Use it as a source of motivation.

Chan said the best advice he would give to students interested in competing is not to hesitate to take part in a music event or competition once you feel like you want to be a part of it.

“No prize or prize can speak for you as an artist, but the process and the experience is invaluable,” Chan said.

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