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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra hosts award-winning pianist

Fei-Fei+is+the+winner+of+the+2014+Concert+Artists+Guild+Competition+and+a+finalist+in+the+2013+Van+Cliburn+International+Piano+Competition.
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Fei-Fei is the winner of the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition and a finalist in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Promising international pianist, Fei-Fei enchanted audiences young and old alike with her powerful performance of Rachmaninoff piano concerto No. 2. The Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra hosted the artist at Rudder Theatre Sunday, Nov. 4 at 5 p.m.
Originally born in Shenzhen, China where she began piano lessons at five years of age, Fei-Fei later moved to New York where she earned a master’s degree in music at the Juilliard School. Since her graduation, Fei-Fei has performed with Symphonies around the world working with numerous prominent conductors.
Nika Hancock is the director of communication and marketing at the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra. After attending Fei-Fei’s performance in 2015, Hancock said she is excited to have Fei-Fei back in Bryan-College Station.
“Everybody just had a fabulous time when she played before, so we brought her back,” Hancock said. “I feel like she has a stage presence, you know, like she has a personality that kind of comes through when she’s performing.”
According to Hancock, musical pieces composed by Rachmaninoff are considered some of the most difficult pieces of music for pianists to play.
“It’s very impressive to see a small person playing [Rachmaninoff’s] music because the reason that his music is so difficult is that he has really big hands, and so when he composed pieces of music, they were for people who could really stretch their fingers out and reach all these keys that not everybody can reach,” Hancock said. “So, historically Rachmaninoff has always been extremely difficult types of works to play.”
Fei-Fei is the winner of the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition and a finalist in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Fei-Fei dazzled audiences when she visited the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra in 2015.
According to Hancock, the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra is a Cliburn Orchestra. This allows them to have an advantage in scheduling talented musicians like Fei-Fei who was a finalist at the 2014 Cliburn competition.
“We just have been working really hard to bring in world class musicians and as our programing continues to elevate to new heights, you know, we’re going to keep bringing in bigger and bigger artists,” Hancock said. “[Fei-Fei] is just one of those that we enjoy presenting and we feel like we are lucky to have had her not once, but twice now.”
Mary Koeninger, Ph.D., is the executive director at the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra.
“This is a great opportunity for those that enjoy Broadway and the pops like stuff or like now with Fei-Fei, the strictly beautiful classical like Beethoven and Rachmaninoff,” Koeninger said. “There’s something for the pure classical lover and for those that like more of a pops, so there’s something for everyone in our schedule.”
Marcelo Bussiki has been the music director and conductor of the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra since 1996. According to Bussiki, Fei-Fei is capable of “true music making.”
“Some musicians are skillful performers, some are both skillful performers and great artists,” Bussiki said. “I have worked with both types of musicians numerous times but those with whom I have a true ‘stage affinity’ is with the true artists. Fei Fei is one of those.”
The Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra boasts of welcoming many world-class performers to the Bryan College Station area.
“She is, She is just really charming and passionate and she just has a really great personality that comes through when she is performing,” Hancock said. “[people] are not going to see this stuff just anywhere and even larger communities aren’t able to present the caliber of artist that we’re able to present.”
The Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra is also excited to announce that they will host Tony Award winner for Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr., on April 28.

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  • The Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra is a Cliburn Orchestra, which allows them to invite finalists from the Cliburn competitions.

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