Mia Chung | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Young Asian and Asian American performers these days tend to be from well-to-do families that value the Western classical tradition: encouraged at an early age to take up an instrument, they're often weaned on the toddler-friendly Suzuki method. And even though Asian households don't always consider a career in music a desirable profession, parents and relatives invariably put up the money for the best of schools if their children insist. So it's hardly surprising that Asian enrollment in the prestigious conservatories--most of them in this country--hovers around the 50 percent mark, and that the story of up-and-coming pianist Mia Chung follows this outline. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, to a professorial family, she grew up in the D.C. area, where at 12 she debuted with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She got an Ivy League education, then naturally ended up at Juilliard, which awarded her a doctorate a few years ago. Along the way she prepped with distinguished elders Peter Serkin and Boris Berman (who must've also given her a tip or two about launching a durable career). If reviews of her solo and orchestral engagements during the last couple of seasons--in places as disparate as New York, Thailand, Fiji, and the former Soviet Union--are any indication, she may well be on her way to stardom. On the program of her local debut are two towering masterworks of keyboard literature: Beethoven's trailblazing last sonata and Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze. Also included are impetuously lyrical pieces by Chopin and Schumann (by way of Liszt). Saturday, 7:30 PM, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 1977 South Campus Dr., Evanston; 708-491-5441.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Don Huntstein.

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