China’s new generation of classical musicians and pianists seem to have found a new home regaling the concert halls and opera houses of the West with the best performances of music born Europe. Orchestras and conservatories around the world are rising to standing ovations in awe of this new breed of Chinese-born musicians who are taking the industry by storm.


Contrary to the stereotype that Asians are only successful in the sciences, there are many Chinese and Koreans that are making waves in international music circles. For example, the Honens International Calgary Piano Competition has seen Chinese gold medal winners in the last few years as well as the TSYO Concertmasters being won by Chinese and other Asians in the last few years.


This success can be somewhat attributed to the Chinese culture of strong work ethics and discipline. The Chinese are extremely determined and when you factor in the parental influence that nurtures this drive, what you get is today’s trend of overachieving Chinese-born pianists. Asia parents are also now actively investing in music lessons for children, especially in North America. Gone are the days when there were just 3 Asians enrolled at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the 1960s. Today, more than half of the string section is made of up children of Asian descent, predominantly Chinese and Koreans. With the early beginnings and parental support, it’s easy to see why they are becoming so dominant in international music competitions of all ages.


Another factor to which this trend can be attributed to is the gradual acceptance of music as a career and not an extracurricular activity. Most Chinese parents want their children to become professionals like lawyers or doctors but are also seeing that a career in music is also financially viable with a high level of acclaim as can be seen from reputable Chinese pianists like Lang Lang. Now most families don’t mind spending heavily on piano lessons and instruments in the hope of a successful music career. Right now, piano schools in China have more than 40,000 students between the ages of five and ten who are taking classes daily and piano examinations. With so many competitions springing up locally and internationally, the piano is today’s version of the academic excellence craze with Chinese pianists trying to beat all the world records possible.


Today’s generation of talented Chinese pianists who have become successful are also encouraging more young people to learn the piano. Driven by the same insatiable need to compete with and surpass the West, the Chinese have begun to dominate international competitions with thousands of applications going out to The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and other illustrious music schools in the world. The gulf between the Chinese and the West is gradually becoming nonexistent with many western teachers taking their talents to China to join schools there. The future of classical music is fast moving over to China and in the words of Lang Lang, “it used to be Europe, then a hundred years ago America. Fifty years ago saw the rise of Japan. And today, it’s China.”

For more information please call Maggie Pollio – Houston Piano Consultant at 832.594.7267.