Frederic Chiu


Born: October 20, 1964; Ithaca, NY  
American pianist Frederic Chiu was born to a Chinese immigrant family. Critics count his diverse background as one of his strengths, permitting him a wider point of view in studying the music he plays. On the other hand, his concert repertory is as centered on the classical European piano literature as that of any comparable player. Another part of his background gives him unusual insight into collaboration: his brother is a violinist, and as the Read more pair was growing up Frederic often accompanied him.

He attended Indiana University, where he pursued a double major in piano performance and computer science. His piano teacher at Indiana was Karen Shaw, a pianist known for her powerful virtuosic interpretations. While attending Indiana he frequently participated in the violin class of the late teacher Josef Gingold as a class accompanist. One of his acquaintances from those years was one of Gingold's greatest pupils, Joshua Bell. Chiu frequently accompanies Bell and also with Pierre Amoyal. (The fact that Bell and Chiu are contracted with different record companies impedes the possibility of these two leading American instrumentalists collaborating on disc.)

After Indiana, he studied at the Juilliard School with Abbey Simon, Shaw's teacher. At that point he decided to base his performing career in Paris. Having settled in France, he co-founded (with violinist Philippe Graffin) the 1991 Consonance Festival in Saint Nazaire and participates regularly in it, often collaborating with Jeremy Menuhin, the St. Lawrence Quartet, Christian Ivaldi, Gary Hoffman, or Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

In 1993, already considered one of the quickest-rising young pianists, he entered the Van Cliburn competition. His elimination before the final round resulted in a storm of protest, reminiscent of the 1980 scandal involving Ivo Pogorelich in the Chopin Competition. He received more publicity as a result than did the winner; The New York Times began referring to him as a "maverick pianist." Since then, he has received more positive recognition as the recipient of the Petscheck Award, the American Pianists Association Fellowship, and the 1996 Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has toured extensively in the United States and Europe, appearing with the major orchestras and in solo recitals in the major venues.

He records for the French Harmonia Mundi label, where he has completed several volumes of a critically acclaimed project to record all the piano music of Sergei Prokofiev, including the unpublished juvenilia and Chiu's own transcription of the suite from the film Lt. Kizhe. He is drawn to little-performed Romantic repertory, including the Mendelssohn piano sonatas and the great virtuoso piano transcriptions of the era, especially those of Franz Liszt. He has given lecture-concerts on Liszt's piano version of the Schubert song cycle Schwanengesang, which he had recorded for Harmonia Mundi. He has also recorded transcriptions of music by Rossini and, more conventionally, Ravel's piano music and Chopin's Opus 10 etudes. Read less
Browse 1-12 of 12 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    America!, Vol. 1: A Land Of Refuge
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908539 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Igor Stravinsky,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Engerer,  Oleg Maisenberg,  Thomas Larcher,  Matthias Goerne  ... 
    Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jerusalem String Quartet,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  musikFabrik  ... 
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  • 2.
    Reflections - Ravel, Decaux, Schonberg / Frederic Chiu
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1957166 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Abel Decaux
    Performer:  Frederic Chiu
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  • 3.
    Rossini: Peches De Vieillesse (Sins Of Old Age) / Frederic Chiu
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1957102 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Frederic Chiu
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  • 4.
    Chopin - The Essentials
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908375 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Jon Nakamatsu,  Olga Kern,  Cédric Tiberghien,  Alexandre Tharaud  ... 
    Conductor:  Antoni Wit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 5.
    The Essential Joshua Bell
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 707416 Release Date: 04/03/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Claude Debussy,  Karl Goldmark  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Bell,  John T. Williams,  Frederic Chiu,  Simon Mulligan  ... 
    Conductor:  John T. Williams,  Michael Stern,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Voice Of The Violin / Joshua Bell
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 97779 Release Date: 09/05/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Schubert,  Jules Massenet,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Bell,  Frederic Chiu,  Scott Kuney,  Anna Netrebko
    Conductor:  Michael Stern
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of St. Luke's,  Women's Chorus
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  • 7.
    Century Vol 17 - L'éveil Musical Des Nations
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908179 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Georges Bizet,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Bernarda Fink,  Roger Vignoles,  Jean-Louis Gil,  René Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski,  Josep Pons,  Philippe Herreweghe,  Daniele Gatti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French Radio New Philharmonic Orchestra,  Wanderer Trio,  Granada City Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Mendelssohn: Three Sonatas, Rondo /  Frederic Chiu
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 3957117 Release Date: 06/08/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Frederic Chiu
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  • 9.
    Virtuoso Piano Transcriptions / Frederic Chiu
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 3957054 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert,  Arnold Schoenberg  ... 
    Performer:  Frederic Chiu
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  • 10.
    Brahms: The Sonatas For Violin And Piano / Amoyal, Chiu
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 907272 Release Date: 01/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Pierre Amoyal,  Frederic Chiu
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  • 11.
    Rarities Of Piano Music At Schloss Vor Husum (1999)
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 539 Release Date: 06/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Erwin Schulhoff,  Sergei Lyapunov,  Alexis de Castillon  ... 
    Performer:  Frédéric Meinders,  Vladimir Stoupel,  Nicholas Walker,  Frederic Chiu  ... 
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  • 12.
    Prokofiev Vol Vi - Six Pieces, Etc / Frederic Chiu
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 907189 Release Date: 11/08/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Frederic Chiu
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