Claudia Chan


chinese-canadian, cologne-based contemporary classical pianist


New Ambassador for New Music
— The Ottawa Citizen

Artist-in-Residence of Voix Nouvelles, Fondation Royaumont, 2017-20


Hailed as the new "Ambassador for New Music" (Ottawa Citizen) and as a "powerful, expressive, and energetic pianist” (Megumi Masaki, Artistic Director, Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition), Claudia Chan was appointed solo artist-in-residence at the Fondation Royaumont as part of the Voix Nouvelles programme and the Médiathèque musicale Mahler in Paris from 2017 to 2020, where she works with other musicians, composers, dancers, and researchers on interdisciplinary projects as well as presenting concerts, lectures, and masterclasses.

After being named first prize winner of the 33rd Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition for Contemporary Performance in 2010, Claudia started performing extensively around North America, including a 14-city recital tour of Canada playing the winning program of contemporary and classical piano music. During the tour, she coached young performers from Canadian universities on contemporary piano repertoire, her concert at the Winnipeg Art Gallery was also recorded and broadcast by CBC Radio 2 on Concerts on Demand and she was featured on an an episode of CBC’s Next!, selected as one of 8 up-and-coming young musicians from Canada.

She made her German orchestral debut in 2012 at the Stadthalle in Wuppertal as soloist in Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, in a performance which the Westdeutsche Zeitung proclaimed was “sovereign... with exciting buildups, beautiful transitions, and fine lyricism.” Claudia has also been heard as soloist and chamber musician at the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Acht Brücken Festival (Cologne), the musikFabrik (Cologne), the MATA Festival (New York City), the Klangspuren Schwaz Festival, the Festival Musica Strasbourg, the 21C Festival (Toronto), the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the New Creations Festival (Toronto), the Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker, PianoCity Milano, the Clearing Festival for Contemporary Music (Portland, Oregon), the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Kelowna Pianoforte Festival, the Toronto Summer Music Academy, in New York City at the Mannes Institute and Festival for Contemporary Festival, and as soloist with the West German Radio Orchestra (WDR Sinfonieorchester), I Musici (Montreal), Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln, Hart House, Cathedral Bluffs, Sinfonia Toronto, and Thirteen Strings Orchestras. She has given masterclasses and workshops at the Universities of Toronto, British Columbia, Brandon, and Northwestern University (Chicago) to young music students and coached chamber groups at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. In the fall of 2013 she was also selected to give a series of lecture-recitals on the piano studies of Unsuk Chin at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln, as a grant recipient of the Deutsche Akademisches Austauschdienst (DAAD). She has been the recipient of awards and scholarships from the Canada Council for the Arts, the DAAD, the Deutscher Musikrat, the Kunststiftung NRW, the Ottawa and Toronto Kiwanis Music Festivals, the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association, and the Canadian Music Competitions.

Also active as a chamber musician, Claudia is a founding member of the award-winning contemporary music quartet BRuCH and has been honoured recently with a grant from the Deutsche Musikrat as finalists of the 2016 Deutscher Musikwettbewerb, a grant from the Werner Richard - Dr.Carl Dörken Foundation as well as the 2nd prize at the Karlsruhe International Competition for Contemporary Performance. BRuCH has been featured at the Acht Brücken Festival Köln and the Zeitgenuss Festival in Karlsruhe, and were recently the subject of two full-length radio features by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk and Deutschlandfunk in Cologne.

In April 2016, Claudia also joined French contemporary ensemble Linea from Strasbourg, under the baton of Jean-Philippe Wurtz, for an 8 concert tour of the United States. In fall of 2019, Claudia will be starting as the pianist for the renowned contemporary and experimental music ensemble handwerk, also based in Germany.

Her work with contemporary music has brought her into close contact with such exciting composers as Helmut Lachenmann, Rebecca Saunders, Hans Thomalla, Philippe Leroux, Unsuk Chin, Brian Current, Vassos Nicolaou, and Johannes Schöllhorn, and she has the honour of being the dedicatee of works by composers such as Alice Ho, Matthias Krüger, Julien Jamet, Giovanni Biswas, Matthew Chamberlain, Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh, Chris Goddard, Huihui Cheng, and Michelle Agnes Magalhaes, with many more collaborations planned for the near future. Her work has been heard on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and all major German radio stations.

Past season highlights include a debut recital at the Theatre Bouffes du Nord in Paris, solo piano premieres from Matthew Chamberlain (USA) and a new chamber opera from Jonah Haven (USA) with BRuCH, and her debut with the WDR Sinfonieorchester under the direction of Michael Wendeberg in a piano concerto written for her by Lisa Streich (Germany/Sweden) at the Wittener Tage für neue Musik.

After finishing her formative studies with Elaine Kruse in Ottawa, Claudia completed her undergraduate studies at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory, as a Dean's scholarship student studying with David Louie and John Perry, her Master’s of Music at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln with Prof. Dr. Florence Millet, and graduated with highest honours from the Master's of New Piano Music in the class of Prof. Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

Since October 2018, Claudia is part of the piano faculty of the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln.

(This is the complete and official biography, updated August 2019).

background image by günter ludwig

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