“I believe classical music has the ability to stop time,” says 30-year-old pianist Steven Lin who will play for The One and Only Royal Mirage as part of the dcc World Classical Music Series on March 23. Lin has been experimenting with sound for more than two decades. His current style has an elemental flow, like the gentle lapping of waves in an ocean. “In this day and age, we are such fast- paced people. With social media and daily workload, we are consumed with many things,” he says. And it is this rigmarole he hopes to stun his audience out of - at least during his one-and-a-half-hour concert. “I hope the audience can let the sound go to them without having to ‘try to get something out of the music’,” he says in an interview.
The pianist won a full scholarship to The Juilliard School at the age of ten. He debuted with New York Philharmonic in Avery Fisher Hall at age 13. Over the years, all the trophies and awards he has won jostle for place of pride. But to have him tell the story, he just won at a game of chance. He says: “My parents took me to a piano lesson when I was seven. [I] kept it going somehow although I wasn’t so interested throughout my teenage years. I decided to go to the Juilliard school for college because they [would] cover all my tuition plus half of room and board. I became passionate about music later after college because I realized how amazing classical music was after all these years of learning. Thinking back now, I kept it going because I enjoyed performing, not for the music until much later.”
Asked about alternate career choices, Lin says, “I thought about being a real estate agent for few months in 2013 because I had a difficult time with career side of things. Back in New York I thought those real estate brokers made money quite fluently. Moving to a new school (Curtis Institute of Music), teacher, and new environment helped me realize how amazing music is. It made me become more passionate about music. It also made me question who I am, what I want to do with my life at the moment. And I realized just becoming a better version of myself was the most important.”
And this improvement meant giving up a few things. “I try to avoid my favorite sport basketball now cause it’s not good if I jam my finger,” he explains.
His routine at his Dubai gig will include works by Schumann, Beethoven, Medtner and Liszt. And then the performer is off to LA, to play a Schumann piano concerto in early April. “I hope to keep going around the world to share the importance of music,” he explains.
Oh and to stop time because, well, he can.
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Tickets to see Steven Lin at One and Only Royal Mirage, Royal Ballroom cost Dh210.