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Insightful, expressive pianist will play a difficult bit of Mozart.

Byline: Fred Crafts The Register-Guard

FOR HIS DEBUT with the Oregon Mozart Players, pianist Tian Ying has chosen Wolfgang Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor (KV 466), a work that is "a little off the conventional path."

"Unlike many other lighthearted and sort of cute and short Mozart concertos, this is really a big, heavy piece," Ying says, adding that it's "very, very difficult" to play. "This piece requires a lot of soul-searching to make it understandable to the audience," Ying says. "As a performer, you turn more toward yourself. It requires a lot of understanding. The more you perform it, the more new ideas you get."

This suits him perfectly. A 34-year-old assistant professor of music at the University of Miami, Ying has built a stellar career by giving individualistic interpretations that are not always what might be expected.

Not that he is a wild man at the keyboard, taking liberties on the order of Glen Gould or Leon Hollander. But he is definitely not afraid to put his own stamp on a composition.

"That's the only way to satisfy yourself," Ying said by phone from his studio in Miami, adding that he keeps his expressiveness in check.

"I'd hate to have people think I play the way I play just for the sake of being different," he says. "I certainly respect what the composer intended to do, but I think in order for a performance to be individual, to be special, you have to perceive the part of how you the performer feels about the music."

Ying's insightful, poetic constructs have taken him to the front rank of pianists. A fourth-place finisher at the 1989 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, he draws rave reviews almost everywhere.

Critic John Von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune wrote: "Ying has individual ideas; he can clearly do anything he wants at the piano. But he is far too intelligent and sensitive to waste his big technique on superficial display. There is an integrity to his pianism that commands respect."

Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe wrote, "Perfection is an elusive goal in music ... and that's what Tian Ying at his best achieved." Dyer also said that "Ying is at the pinnacle of pianism."

Born in Shanghai and educated in the United States, Ying made his first public appearance with the Shanghai Symphony at the age of 10. He attended the Interlochen Arts Academy and the New England Conservatory of Music. He took honors in the Van Cliburn Competition when he was just 19.

Since then, he has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta and Hong Kong Philharmonic, and with symphony orchestras in Toledo, Ohio; Fort Worth, Texas; Fort Collins, Colo.; Spokane; Pensacola, Fla.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Shanghai, among others.

Before moving to the University of Miami last fall, he had been a visiting lecturer and artist in piano at the University of Louisville School of Music for three years.

In Eugene, Ying will play Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 as part of an all-Mozart program that also includes Symphony No. 23 in D Major (KV 181), Symphony No. 24 in B-flat Major (KV 182) and Symphony No. 36 in C Major (KV 425, the ``Linzer'').

The guest conductor will be Glen Cortese, who has served since 1994 as music director of the Altenburger (Germany) Musik Festival and since 1986 as music director of the New York Chamber Sinfonia.

A composer as well as a conductor, Cortese was principal conductor and director of orchestral studies at the Manhattan School from 1988-2000. He received the ASCAP New and Adventuresome Programming Award for each of the last eight years of his tenure. During the 2001-02 season, he was resident conductor of the Florida Philharmonic.

Fred Crafts can be reached at 338-2575 or fcrafts@guardnet.com.

PREVIEW

Mozart Magic

What: Pianist Tian Ying (left) will join the Oregon Mozart Players in an all-Mozart program conducted by Glen Cortese

When and where: 8 p.m. Saturday in the Hult Center's Soreng Theatre, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in Beall Concert Hall at the University of Oregon School of Music

How much: $16 to $40, through the Hult Center box office (682-5000)

GuardLine: To hear some of the music, call GuardLine at 485-2000 and request category 3733
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Title Annotation:Tian Ying, praised for his interpretive playing, will visit Eugene for two concerts with the Oregon Mozart Players; Entertainment
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 16, 2003
Words:716
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