avatar for Claire Chiu

Claire Chiu

At the age of fourteen Claire Chiu arrived in Beijing from her native place Hong Kong to study piano at famed Central Conservatory’s Attached Middle School. This was the beginning of an adventure that has now taken her to three continents and led to her appointment as Associate Professor of Piano at the prestigious music school--Xinghai Conservatory of Music--in Guangzhou, China.
Dr. Chiu’s training is truly international. After graduating from the Attached Middle School in 1999, she entered the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York (USA), studied under Fernando Laires, and received her Bachelor's Degree in 2003. Dr. Chiu then attended the Yale School of Music (New Haven, USA) for her Master of Music, Where she studied with Peter Frankl and Melvin Chen. Upon graduation from Yale she traveled to Paris to study with Marian Rybicki at the Ecole Normale de Musique. She then went on to UCLA (Los Angeles, USA), studied under Walter Ponce and earned her Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in 2009. She has participated in master classes with Angela Hewitt, Natalya Antonova, Claude Frank, Boris Berman, and Oxana Yablonskaya.
Claire Chiu has concertized widely throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, including solo concerts in Hong Kong City Hall, Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall, Yale University’s Sprague Hall, the Salle Cortot in Paris, Schoenberg Hall at UCLA, and Carnegie Hall in New York. As the winner of the 2002 Hong Kong Chopin Piano Competition, she was called upon to perform two concertos in one night with Kunming Symphony Orchestra of Yunnan, China. Her recent engagements include appearances with Wiener Residenz Orchester, Sichuan Symphony Orchestra, the Kunming Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong District Orchestra, and UCLA Philharmonia.
During her time at UCLA, Dr. Chiu became particularly interested in the growing body of high quality piano music by contemporary Chinese composers, and wrote her DMA dissertation on this subject (under Prof. Robert Winter). She has performed numerous concerts under the general rubric of “Chinese Contemporary Piano Composition: New Century, New Concepts, New Music,” including a performance in April 2010 at the invitation of leading Chinese composers Chen Yi and Zhou Long as part of the “Musica Nova” (New Music) Festival at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She has also performed solo recitals on the same theme in the Xinghai Conservatory of Music’s “Music Home” festival series, at the Guangzhou Opera House, Shao Guan University in Guangzhou, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong.
The Xinghai Conservatory of Music and Shao Guan University official websites covered these concerts, publishing highly favorable reviews. Celebrated Chinese pianist and educator Guangren Zhou has said of her playing: “Her technique is clean and accurate, with lots of contrasts in tone color and a persuasive performing style.” Zhou has also encouraged Dr. Chiu to pursue even more Chinese contemporary piano works. In 2013, Dr. Chiu was invited to perform in China National Conservatory, Central Conservatory in Beijing, and Suzhou University in Suzhou. She played solo piano recitals on the theme “The Universe and Humanity Harmonize in China's Roots.” The China National Conservatory official website praised her performance as “the best interpretation yet of Chinese contemporary piano music; her spirit and attitude has left a deep impression.” The Central Conservatory of Music reported this review, and the Steinways Company website characterized Dr. Chiu’s performance as “distinguished.” The Xinghai Conservatory of Music and many other websites also covered these recitals. In 2015, Dr.Chiu premiered Chinese composer Zhang Zhao’s piano concerto “Ailao Rhapsody” with Kunming Nieer Symphony Orchestra in Kunming China and gained great success. In 2017 she was invited again and premiered another influential Chinese composer Xia Liang’s piano concerto. In both 2014 and 2016, Dr.Chiu was invited to Virginia Commonwealth University Global Summer Institute of Music as joined faculty and had given lecture recitals on Chinese Contemporary Piano Solo Works. In 2017, she had given a successful concert with solo and chamber music (repertoire with Chinese instruments) at Guangzhou Opera House. The most influential party newspaper Nanfang Daily followed with interest and had given highly favorable reviews. As a leader in this exciting area, Dr.Chiu’s performance style is already exercising considerable influence on a new generation of pianists in China.
Dr. Chiu is now teaching at Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou, China. She offers primary piano lessons toundergraduate students, coaches chamber music, conducts piano duo classes, and teaches a popular course in piano pedagogy. Her students have already won national and international prizes and have been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York. Dr. Chiu has also published articles on contemporary Chinese piano music in major Chinese journals and served on juries for numerous piano competitions.