The Crescendo International Music Competition is an established international music festival for youth all around the world. Every year from November through February, the qualifying rounds are held in Canada, USA, Germany, South Korea, Austria and Russia. The youngest competitor is only five years old and the most senior competitors are in their early twenties. Over the past four months, many of our academy music students have undergone intensive adjudications and performances, working towards the final competition and performance in New York City. We were delighted to see so many of our students commit to this music competition and showcase their developing talent. Their efforts culminated in an invitation for the competition winners to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City! Tom Lee Music Vice President Graham Blank and Luxury Brand and Marketing Manager LuLu Wang accompanied a delegation of young musicians and their parents from Vancouver and Toronto across the border to New York City for a three day weekend music tour which included their exceptional concert, a tour of the Steinway Factory and a master class with acclaimed music educator Meng-Chieh Liu. Both the students and parents were delighted by their extraordinary experiences in the big apple.
Carnegie Hall is a world renowned symbol of musical achievement and artistry. The venue is universally considered one of the greatest concert halls in the world and any performance there demands the highest standard of excellence, creativity and achievement. Even outside of the music industry, the reputation of Carnegie Hall precedes it. Someone once asked a stranger how to get to Carnegie Hall and the New Yorker replied, "with continuous practice!” Of course there is no shortcut to musical achievement other than continuous, dedicated practice, which our students learned the true meaning of on their journey to reach Carnegie Hall. The experience brought excitement, happiness and the promise of an enriched future where the impact of their musical education will continue to benefit them indefinitely. Watching the monitors from back stage, our team could clearly see the students perform with elegance and confidence. There is no telling how many times our students practiced their beautiful melodies over and over again, building upon their skills and musical foundation. Their effort and dedication culminated in a meaningful performance on a world renowned stage, allowing them to live the dream of being a professional musician.
Another highlight of the recent New York trip was our official visit to the Steinway & Sons factory. The students and parents were given an exclusive tour of the facility, home to world class pianos steeped in a tradition of remarkable craftsmanship. The knowledgeable staff guided our group throughout the factory, showing each and every step of the extensive production process. All of our students and parents gained an incredible understanding of the manufacturing process and what makes a Steinway piano so extraordinary. Many of the families who visited the Steinway factory were already proud Steinway owners and recognized the remarkable value of a Steinway piano. Of course everyone was eager to see the magic of the creation process from a pile of wood to a world class musical instrument. Steinway pianos are made almost entirely by hand and each instrument takes approximately one year to complete. No effort is spared in the creation of these beautiful instruments and the results are clear. Children love playing the pianos, the teachers recommended them, investors collect them and 97% percent of professional concert pianists will play only them. For over 160 years, Steinway & Sons have continued to uphold the highest standards in piano manufacturing, with skilled workers passing down techniques through several generations of mentorship. One couple was even inspired to bring home a Steinway piano after seeing the marvelous craftsmanship and manufacturing process.
After the tour, our students were honoured to attend an exclusive master class with Meng-Chieh Liu, an esteemed piano educator, Steinway artist and professor at the Curtis School of Music. With twenty phenomenal years of teaching experience, Professor Meng-Chieh Liu has mentored musicians all over the world including Lang Lang, Yuja Wang and Hao-Chen Zhang. The experience was incredibly exciting as many of our young students dream of attending the Curtis School of Music and one day studying with Professor Men-Chieh Liu. The master class and subsequent question and answer period were both enlightening and inspiring for the students. One child reflected that even after hours of practicing, he could not figure out how to solve a difficult problem. But with three words from Professor Meng-Chieh Liu, suddenly the music made sense and felt great to play.
Over the course of just three days in New York City, the delegation’s student members formed meaningful bonds with one another and shared in memories that will last a lifetime. Their parents shared in this memorable music education experience along with families and friends from the tour group. Despite the unforeseen challenge of a delayed flight, the children and parents were highly engaged and inspired by the overall experience. Our hope is that this special musical journey and unique experience will remain in the hearts of our students and their families for years to come.