Senior Atsuo Chiu overlooks the Colosseum in Rome.

Q&A: Senior’s piano skills take him to Rome during winter break

(Photo used by permission of Chiu)
Senior Atsuo Chiu overlooks the Colosseum in Rome.

Senior Atsuo Chiu went to Rome during the first week of winter break, Dec. 15-23, to perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Book II Number I” at Auditorium Parco della Musica.


Q: Was this your first time in Rome?

A: Yes, this is my first time going to Rome, but it is not my first time performing a concert.


Q: Why did you go to Rome?

A: I went there for the winners’ recital (of) a competition. This competition was the Grand Prize Virtuoso International Competition.

I have won seven international competitions and six U.S. competitions.


Q: How were you invited to this musical performance?

A: I submitted a video, maybe 30 minutes (in length), online to this competition organization. That was around August or September. Then they emailed me around November saying that I was chosen as a first-place winner. So I was invited to play in Rome.


Q: How did your performance go?

A: The performance itself went pretty well. I think that I performed how I usually perform. (Aside from the Bach piece, I also played) “Polonaise (Opus) 53” by Frederic Chopin (and) “La Campanella” by Franz Liszt.


Q: Did you get stage fright?

A: I’ve gotten used to stage fright. But I always have some tension before I play, so I sit down and relax before I put my hands on the keyboard.


Q: How long have you been working on these pieces

A: I’ve been working on all my pieces for maybe half a year. I fixed and developed phrases, dynamics, expression while I practiced.


Q: Did you play with a group?

A: No, it was a solo performance. My teacher, Shigemi Nishite, and I were preparing in Sacramento until (Dec. 14). Then I left to Italy for this concert


Q: Was this performance a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

A: I have gone to New York and performed there maybe four to five times. I have performed at Carnegie Hall (in New York City) and have also performed at Baruch Performing Arts Center, (also located in New York City).

Last year, I performed at Royal Albert Hall (in London).


Q: Did you do any sightseeing?

A: Yes, we went to Florence and Venice. We also toured Rome.

In Rome, I went to the Roman Colosseum, Spanish Steps and the Roman Forum. We also went to the Vatican.

In Florence and Venice, we went to lots of churches and museums.

In Venice, we went to St. Mark’s Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs, the Canale Grande, the Rialto Bridge and the Santa Maria Church.


Q: Did you eat any food that one could find only in Italy?

A: (No). Pretty much everything we ate there were things you could find here at an Italian restaurant.

—By Keshav Anand

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