What is your first musical memory? Tell us about your first steps in music.
My first musical memory is from my grandmother. She used to play a Chinese instrument called a Yangqin (hammered dulcimer) when she was young, and she likes listening to music and singing. She thought that knowing how to appreciate music and playing an instrument would benefit me, so she started taking me to have lessons with our local piano teacher when I was four years old.
Can you remember when you decided to pursue training at a conservatoire level? Tell us about that and what led you to that decision.
I remember after taking lessons with my first piano teacher for one or two years, she suggested to my grandmother that I should find a teacher that has a higher level of piano playing, because she thought that I had a natural ability. My teacher recommended someone who taught in the Middle School attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. This was 2006, when I was six years old. After the first lesson with her, she immediately suggested that I should apply for the training course in the Middle School attached to the Central Conservatory of Music.
What musical training did you embark on before you came to the Academy?
I had nine years of musical study in the Middle School attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in China. I started when I was age 9 and graduated at age 18. The training system is similar to music schools in the UK; the school offers weekly 1-1 lesson with my own principle professor, aural skills and music theory classes, and general education like Maths, English, Literature and more.
What was it about the Academy which made you decide to study here?
I wanted to study at a place that can offer top level musical education and help me build a professional career after studying. The Academy is one of the top conservatoires in the world, and I knew I wanted to study with my professor Joanna MacGregor before I came to the UK. The Academy doesn’t just have the highest level of musical education, but it also has a great reputation for diverse activities and opportunities.
Why did you want to study in London?
The artistic environment in London is open-minded, encouraging and colourful. Being an artist means that I need to be aware of what is going on in the artistic world, and London attracts all the top artists to come and present their works. Here, I can go to high-profile concerts, operas and ballets, as well as visit some of the most precious art collections in the world.
How have you found studying at the Academy?
My principle study is piano, but I also play a lot of historical instruments like harpsichord, fortepiano and organ. Coming to the Academy to study was my best decision, and I am very grateful for everything I have experienced here. I have been able to improve my solo playing, and had the opportunity to play chamber music, historical performances and develop all sorts of creative projects. All these experiences have helped to shape me as an artist and are reflected in my personality as a musician.
You are a Bicentenary Scholar, can you tell us a little bit about what that entails?
This is my second year as a Bicentenary Scholar and I am privileged to be part of this group of musicians. Not only does this scholarship provide me with financial support, but it also allows me amazing opportunities to express myself as an artist. I recorded an album with the renowned record label, Linn Records, which will be released in December. As part of this process, I had the chance to have two intensive days of working closely with the Chief Producer Philip Hobbs. Another amazing opportunity I had was to attend the Bicentenary Reunion in Florence. At this event, I had the chance to visit the Mascarade Opera Studio and build connections with other scholars and musical colleagues.
What advice would you give to prospective students who are auditioning at the Academy?
Be yourself and think who you want to be as an artist, because the Academy will help you achieve that. The Academy is a place where you can investigate and develop your potential, whilst feeling inspired and supported. I want to wish everyone auditioning the best of luck and welcome you to join the Academy family. Once you are here, you will meet the most amazing musicians, artists and people.
Lastly, what does the Academy mean to you?
The Academy is my family, my friend and an indispensable part of my life.
The Bicentenary scholarship programme is offered to up to 12 students each year based on merit and need. As well as financial assistance, it also includes bespoke opportunities for career advancement and artistic development, ranging from a professional recording to enhanced personal tuition with globally renowned performers.
Beyond the musical opportunities, the programme invites scholars to become part of the Bicentenary network, encouraging international collaboration and support with artistic endeavours.