John ChenInfo from the society’s website


In 2004 New Zealand’s John Chen became the youngest ever winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition, also taking prizes for best performances of classical composers, chamber music and concerto. The previous year he won the Lev Vlassenko Australasian Piano Competition, and the following year graduated from the University of Auckland. Since then he has performed around the world and recorded CDs of piano works by Henri Dutilleux, Debussy and Ravel. In 2009 John’s Saguaro Piano Trio won the Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition. Following a period teaching at the Hamburg Musikhochschule, John has recently been living and teaching in Zambia.

His recital programme offers us the rare chance to hear one of Handel’s great keyboard suites, often overlooked in favour of the suites and partitas of Bach. More familiar will be Chopin’s much-loved second sonata, known as the “Funeral March Sonata”. The second half of John’s programme will introduce us to the Sonata by Paul Dukas, a French composer best known for his orchestral work The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Written around 1900, this sonata led Debussy to write “Monsieur Dukas knows what music is made of: it is not just brilliant sound designed to beguile the ear… it is an endless treasure trove of possible forms and souvenirs”.

Handel:  Suite in F minor
Chopin:  Sonata No 2 in Bb minor, Op 35
Dukas:  Sonata in Eb minor