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Richmond pianist eager to perform for live audience

A local pianist said the past two years created an opportunity for her to study and practice music.

After nearly two long years, Libby Yu is excited to play in front of a live audience -- even if the Richmond pianist won’t be able to see the smiles behind the masks.

Yu will collaborate with WestCoast Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 11 at Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral, where she will perform the Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op 25 by the German composer Felix Mendelssohn. 

Yu described the concerto as “joyful and brilliant” and perfectly suited to a chamber orchestra. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Yu has seen many gigs evaporate. 

“Obviously, it’s very sad for everyone, especially artists; we spend time getting physically, emotionally and mentally ready for concerts,” and having those concerts cancelled takes a toll, said Yu.

But even though it’s been a struggle, the last two years have also created an opportunity for her to study and practice music, without facing the constant pressure to perform. 

As well, it encouraged her to find new ways to reach audiences. After receiving numerous requests to hold online recitals, Yu began recording videos and shared them online with the public. 

These online concerts were played at various places, including senior homes, to cheer up everyone, said Yu.

Yu captured First Prize in the 27th CBC Radio National Competition for Young Performers and came to international recognition when she was awarded a Diploma of Honour at the 13th International Frederic Chopin Competition held in Warsaw, Poland.

At the upcoming live performance, a CD, Recital for Hope, featuring a collection of Yu’s performances of works by Chopin, will also be sold at the concert, with all proceeds going towards BC Cancer Foundation. 

In addition to performing on stage and taking care of her three children, Yu also coaches music students.