Yi-Yang Chen, assistant professor of piano and music theory in the East Tennessee State University Department of Music, has been invited by the embassy of Taiwan to perform at the Arts Club of Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15 as part of the Embassy Series.
The Arts Club of Washington is located at the Cleveland Abbe House. The club draws much of its character and tradition from its home, the center of which is an historic Federal-era mansion that once served as the residence of James Monroe and, for a time, as his official presidential residence.
Chen, a native of Taipei, Taiwan, was invited to perform in the series by Stanley Kao, the ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the United States at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington.
Within the last year, Chen has collected almost $30,000 in cash prizes from various international competitions. He has played piano since the age of 8 and holds a master of music degree from the Juilliard School in New York. He gave his debut solo recital at Carnegie’s Weill Hall in 2017 and performed two concertos with the Avanti Orchestra in Washington, D.C.
During his Embassy Series concert, Chen will perform works by Haydn, Villa Lobos, Chopin, Granados, Alwyn and Hsiao, as well as his original 2011 composition, “In Memoriam: Japan, March 11 for solo piano.” In addition, he has invited his former student and ETSU alumna Yihan Sun (B.M. 2018) to join him in the performance of a four-hand piece during the concert. Sun is currently pursuing her master’s degree at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University.
“The program is a wonderful chance to see and hear music in a new way and to explore music as not only a form of personal expression but as cultural communication and a diplomatic tool that can thrill and unite people from all backgrounds,” Chen said.
The Embassy Series, celebrating its 25th anniversary, provides opportunities for cultural exchange by presenting musical performances highlighting the contributions of various countries. Each concert is followed by a reception featuring the cuisine of the host embassy. According to the organization’s website (www.embassyseries.org), the Embassy Series fulfills its mission of “musical diplomacy” by hosting concerts with an array of unique international performers at diplomatic locations.