It's been a joy to celebrate the very best Asian composers and performers this month, not least because one of my all-time favorite pianists is the extraordinary Joel Fan
He visited our studios last year for an enchanting live performance, and in that concert it was obvious he was a true musical Renaissance man. He not only tackles the traditional three Bs with aplomb but also lends a special personal touch to modern music from living composers such as Dia Succari of Syria and Ernesto Nazareth of Brazil.
He also collaborated with cellist Yo-Yo Ma as a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, a group that recorded classical music inspired by the traditional sounds of the Asian contintent. It gave him a whole new outlook on playing solo piano.
"It's given me, as a pianist, a willingness to explore music from different cultures," he recently told the San Jose Mercury News
. "No creation or innovation exists in a vacuum. We're all dealing with inspirations from other people and thinkers, whether it's in philosophy or science or music. And one of the big themes right now is the way information is globally shared and the way collaboration can happen instantaneously. We're all connected around the world, wherever we are."
Mr. Fan got a great start to his career when, at age 11, he played solo with the New York Philharmonic. And he's only gotten better since.