Over the years of playing the piano in public, I’ve passed through many stages of performance anxiety. Perhaps the most difficult time was early on, when I expressed my stage fright through visible physical reactions. I will never forget my adult piano recital of Debussy’s Rêverie, in particular, my clacking shoe.
For my performance at Carnegie Hall, I wanted to infuse my music with the same emotion I experienced at home.
Last summer, when I clicked through photographs for my website, I noticed something amiss on the shots of my hands at the piano. The pinky of my right hand, rather than cupping over the keys, jutted straight out, flexed with an unnatural tension.
Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp Minor is a signature piece of my piano teacher, Stephen Wu. At his wedding reception at the Montclair Art Museum earlier this year, the lights dimmed as Stephen sat down at the mahogany Steinway, where he played a piece of his own composition he had written for his new wife, Meredith.