Cloverdale student Da-Wei Chan is warming up for his debut as a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra later this month.
The talented young musician won the VSO School of Music’s Future of Excellence concerto competition last year, earning the honour of playing with the VSO as a soloist during their 100th season.
Ever since he found out he would performing the same piece he won the concerto competition with — Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor — he has been hard at work practicing.
According to Da-Wei’s dad, Siong, one of the things Da-Wei has been working on since the Reporter last spoke with him in June 2018 is “slowing down” the complex and technically challenging piece, and expressing emotion through his sound.
“It’s not just a bunch of notes,” explained Siong. “You really have to emote it, play emotionally, musically. Give a performance that’s mournful, soulful, romantic.”
So how do you teach an 11-year-old to play soulful, romantic music?
As Da-Wei’s mother, Wendy Chan, explained, they watched a lot of YouTube recordings of the concerto to get ideas. “Everybody does it differently,” she said. “You kind of get an idea of what speaks to you, and you make it your own.”
The performance that speaks to Da-Wei the most is by Hilary Hahn because of her “crisp” performance. Every note, he said, was “clear and energetic.”
When asked if he’s nervous for the upcoming debut, Da-Wei said he doesn’t think about it a lot.
The largest audience he has performed as a soloist for was a size of about 100 people. But, as part of an orchestra, the largest venue he has played is Sunset Beach, which usually pulls a crowd of around 7,000 people.
For more information on the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and Da-Wei’s upcoming performance, visit vancouversymphony.ca.