How are you using this time of social distancing and venue lockdowns? Taken up anything new? Learning new works?
Kevin Chow: I have been using this extra time to learn new repertoire such as various works of Bach and Prokofiev. It’s also given opportunities to improve on things I previously neglected, such as physical health. I’m taking more frequent walks around my area and various exercises at home.
Wenting Shi: I’m able to do lots of things during the quarantine. I cook, keep doing exercises, read books, watch movies, paint and learn new repertoire. I stay as positive as a can to use this special period of time to fulfill my life.
Travel is extremely limited at the moment but is there a journey you would like to take in the future? For work, or for pleasure? What do you hope to find there?
Wenting Shi: I’d love to go back to my home country China first, to stay with my family. Then I’d love to travel to places next to the ocean, like Australia.
Kevin Chow: I love to travel to different places/cultures for both work and pleasure. For example, as I have been in America for the last two years, I hope to explore the country more. The same is true for my home country: I would particularly like to perform for audiences in Australia. This is one of the many great attractions of The Sydney. I am also very interested in working and traveling in China and experiencing more about that area of my heritage.
Is there a work, or a composer, who has taken you on a ‘journey’ – perhaps of discovery, emotion or evolution – as you get more deeply involved with it/them?
Kevin Chow: Recently I have continued my ‘journey’ with some of the late sonatas of Beethoven and Schubert. These works have resonated with me; they contain such a complete scope of human spirit and emotion and truly reflect a journey of life.
Wenting Shi: In the summer of 2013, when I started to learn Chopin’s 24 Preludes, I was absolutely amazed by the music.
I got so inspired and started to write my first novel. It contains 24 chapters, reflecting the 24 preludes. Each chapter is based on my personal feeling to each prelude of the set. During the time when I was writing my novel while learning the preludes, I exploredmyself and have a very deep attachment to the music. Another piece that is significant to me is Liszt’s Sonata in B minor. I first listened to the piece when I was a little girl. Even though the music attracted my attention immediately, it was too obscure for me at that time. Then I started to analyse the music; read books about the music; and got a deep understanding of Goethe’s Faust. For me, learning the piece is more like a mental development rather than just learning the music. It helps me to think about more sophisticated questions.
Which do you prefer? The journey, or the destination? Why?
Wenting Shi: For sure the journey. A journey is a real memory carved in one’s heart. Without a journey, the destination is just a faraway fantasy.
Kevin Chow: I think that in life, there will always be something more to improve on and aspire to. In this way I see life as a never-ending journey. Setting destinations and goals is vital in that it provides a purpose and motivation to my everyday life, however I am also learning to appreciate every moment in the present as we are constantly reminded by the world of how unpredictable and uncertain the future is.
When we hold our rescheduled competition in 2021, will this be your first time in Sydney? What are you looking forward to?
Wenting Shi: Yes, it will be the first time for me. I look forward to sharing my music to the audience in Sydney and I really look forward to exploring the city for its unique culture and the beautiful landscapes.
Kevin Chow: I have been to Sydney a few times before for work and pleasure. I am most looking forward to being able to perform for the wonderful Australian audiences and share music together with the people involved.
Read their biographies below: