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Nation's piano teacher

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-03-15 08:33
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Pianists Chen Sa (left) and Dan Zhaoyi (right) celebrate Zhou's 70th birthday in 1998.[Photo provided to China Daily]

As a student of the middle school affiliated to the Central Conservatory of Music, Sheng started to learn to play the piano with Zhou from 1987-91.From 1991-97, Sheng studied at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City as a scholarship student of Solomon Mikowsky, where he completed his bachelor's and master's degrees of music.

"Zhou helped me to level up my skills, to find my direction as a pianist, and achieve freedom in creativity," recalls Sheng.

Sheng can still recall that in one winter before the final exam, he made a request to Zhou that he wanted to play Tchaikovsky's Dumka, Op 59 and the Chinese piano piece, A Hundred Birds Paying Respect to the Phoenix, during the final exam.

"Usually teachers assigned music pieces to students during final exams. It was the first time that I made a request to my teacher and surprisingly, she agreed. I was so happy that I practiced very hard. I got a high score," says Sheng. "I am a teacher now and her teaching approaches influenced me very much. I often feel inspired when I think of her warmth and support, which were crucial for a young pianist."

Pianist Wang Xiaohan freely admits that he was a rebellious adolescent when he was 15 and a student at the middle school affiliated to the Central Conservatory of Music.

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