On 13 Nov 2015 1pm, at the Steinway Spirio Lounge in Palais Renaissance, Orchard, invited guests were present to witness Congyu Wang, a young and talented Singaporean pianist, share his new CD Release titled, Charme. Congyu, who is also a Young Steinway Artist, performed selected pieces on a Steinway Spirio, the world's finest high resolution player piano. ThePiano.SG conducted an interview with Congyu, and we are excited to share with you our exclusive interview content!
Why have you chosen Francis Poulenc's works for your first CD Release, Charme?
When I was in France, I studied with Gabriel Tacchino, who was the only student of Francis Poulenc, and we worked on a lot of Poulenc's piano pieces. After my return to Singapore to fulfil my National Service obligations, I began to miss my time in Paris, as well as the French music that I was so passionate about. Consequently, I decided to produce a CD featuring all the works of Francis Poulenc. As his works are so vast, an initial set of pieces was chosen for my first CD, and I look forward to producing future pieces to complete them.
One time in Paris, I heard Poulenc's "Les Chemins de l’amour" on the radio, and I was so enchanted by it. I had to go through all his music, playing everything Francis Poulenc had written just to find this piece, but I still couldn't find the score. I asked my teacher, Gabriel Tacchino, but he didn't seem interested to talk about this piece. I guess it was because it wasn't publicised as a piano piece, but instead as a voice and piano. However, he surprised me on my birthday with the original manuscript of "Les Chemins de l’amour" by Poulenc himself! I was extremely thrilled! At this point of time, I could already play most of Poulenc's piano pieces.
What's the most rewarding experience producing this CD?
Recording is a very difficult task, because when you are inside the studio, you hear everything so much more clearly. Whether it is moving your fingers, hands, or even grinding your teeth, you can hear each and every subtle sound clearly. Therefore, you know you cannot make a mistake when you are recording. When I listened to my own recordings and had to hear my mistakes, naturally I was discouraged. But because of these experiences, I think I have found my personality in music, and found out who I am. I don't feel ashamed of my music now. Recording in a studio and producing an album, definitely gave me the exposure I needed and helped me mature.
What are your plans in the coming years?
After my Piano Recital in Singapore on the 15 November, I will be leaving for Reunion Island to take charge of my new music school there. However, I'll definitely return to Singapore to settle down with my wife, who is currently in Reunion Island. We would like to start a family here in Singapore, and develop the local music scene. I will definitely be working closely with Steinway, who has been very supportive of me all these years. They did a great job today, as always, organising this CD Launch event. I will also become more involved in the French community in Singapore, exploring more of the French repertoire such as the works of Debussy, Ravel and Satie. It would be great to collaborate with the French artistes, and to grow the Singapore music scene at the same time.
I understand you were conferred as a Young Steinway Artist in 2013. What do you think it means to be a Young Steinway Artist?
To be conferred as a Young Steinway Artist means I have become a part of a family of great musicians who have been conferred the distinction of this title. Steinway has so much history, and so many other legendary artistes play on a Steinway. It is both an honour for me, and a privilege to share the stage with them. Being a Young Steinway Artist also lets me tap on Steinway & Sons’ worldwide resource and their exclusive network of dealers. Most of all, it has also allowed me to have the opportunity to foster a strong bond with the music community.