Who is Alexander Yau...?
Concert pianist and chamber musician
Alexander Yau, a young and eminent Australian pianist, has developed himself as a versatile and serious classical musician incorporating his many musical talents as a chamber musician, vocalist, clarinetist, conductor, composer and music arranger. Pianist Balazs Szokoaly describes him - "His artistic taste is good enough not to make any kind of "show" even in the most brilliant parts of great masterworks".
He has been award numerous prizes at the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, Teresa Carreno Internatinoal Masters Piano Competition, Australian International Chopin Piano Competition, Sydney Kawai Piano Scholarship, Australian National Piano Award, and the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition. His major concerto appearances as soloist include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Rachmaninov’s Concerto no.3, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra with Rachmaninov’s Concerto no. 1 and a major tour with the SBS Youth Orchestra in Australia, with Rachmaninov’s Concerto no. 2. He was the winner of Sydney Conservatorium Concerto Competition, which led him to perform the mighty Brahms’ Piano Concerto no. 2 with Eduardo Diazmunoz at the Conservatory Gala Concert to huge reception. In Australia, he has been invited to perform in the Canberra International Music Festival, Government House, Polish the Embassy of Australia and City Recital Hall in Sydney. Other international prestigious and unique venues he has performed in include Troldhaugen at Grieg's home in Norway, Yamaha Ginza in Tokyo, Alice Tuly hall in New York, Australian Pavilion at Shanghai Expo, Villa Reale in Monza and Villa Mosconi Bertani in Verona. He gave the US premiere of a newly discovered lost work by Grete von Zieritz's Piano Sonata (1928) at the FOCUS festival 2020 in Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Lincoln Centre. In 2011 he released his debut album with clarinetist Deborah de Graaff featuring Australian works and his own compositions recorded by the ABC Classic Label.
He is a collaborative musician in high demand for instrumental and chamber music, working with singers in art-song and opera repetiteur. He has worked as an accompanist at the Juilliard School, now holds a causal staff position at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in collaborative piano. Since 2022, he is on contract for repetiteur and vocal coaching at Opera Australia.
He completed his masters degree at the Juilliard School in NYC under Prof. Matti Raekallio in May 2020. He is a recipient of the Celia and Joseph Ascher Fund for Piano and the Louise Chisholm Moran Piano Scholarship, and the Harold & Helene Schonberg Piano Scholarship. In 2018 he completed his Bachelor of Music piano performance with 1st Class Honours at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, under Prof. Daniel Herscovitch and Elizabeth Powell (retired Head of Keyboard). He was a recipient of the Corinna Taylor Memorial Prize, Seetha Aryanganie Nugawela Prize and the William Kapell Memorial Scholarship. He was greatly supported by Theme and Variations Foundation Award in 2016.
Clarinetist and Vocalist
Other than the piano, Alexander Yau is a fine clarinetist. He obtained his AMusA music diploma for clarinet performance with Honours and studied as double major with Deborah de Graaff at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Conservatorium High School. He has played numerous chamber music on clarinet and wind ensembles under Australian conductor Richard Gill and many others.
Alexander Yau developed a strong passionate hobby in classical singing and began his vocal training at age 20, first as baritone and moved onto tenor repertory. He made several appearances as a vocalist at 2 Australian relief bushfires concerts in NYC. His honours thesis for his bachelors degree was titled "Performance Considerations of Chopin’s Various Works through an understanding of the Vocal Aesthetics of Italian Opera in the early 19th Century"(2017), of which he based on vast research on Performance of Chopin’s music (historical until 20th century) and the influence of Italian opera into Chopin’s piano writing and performance styles. From this research he develops a unique, completely natural and authentic cantabile sound and style in his piano performances.
Conductor, composer, music arranger
Alexander Yau studied conducting with Christopher Seamens, Eduardo Diazmunov in Australia, and Jeffery Milarsky at the Juilliard School. He has made conducting appearances with the Conservatorium high School, Voces Caleastium and ENCORE at the Sydney Opera House with a composition with young Australian composer, Emma Greenhill. He founded the Ole Bohn Chamber Orchestra in 2020 and made its inaugural virtual concert conducting the Australian Premiere of Pavle Cajic's Octet 'San', as well as Brahms Symphony no. 3 and Mozart Concerto no. 23 conducting from the piano.
He studied composition with Dr. Trevor Pearce and was awarded the James Easton Memorial Award for composition. His work "Grand Passacaglia for Clarinet and piano" is performed and recorded by his clarinet teacher Deborah de Graaff and himself, notably in the Australian Sax and Woodwinds conference.
In recent years he turns to focus on music arranging. He is an active music arranger of all sort of musically styles. Some of his best arrangements include the famous Piazolla's Oblivion arranged for 2 violins, viola, piano and melodica, Kapustin's Concert Etude no. 1 arranged for Clarinet, Alto and Baritone Saxophone, Trumpet, Electric Bass, drum kit and Piano.
He composed an highly engaging song-medley using songs from the movie 'La La Land' for piano duo, which has been performed at several concerts and scheduled to be performed by himself and his peers in piano duo concerts.
"From beginning to end, this was the work of an experienced, sincere and serious musician with a technical equipment of a high international level. What is even more rare: every work demonstrated a developed sense of the cantabile, which few pianists cultivate so systematically and naturally".
- Prof. Matti Raekallio, on his Juilliard Graduation Recital
"His artistic taste is good enough not to make any kind of "show" even in the most brilliant parts of great masterworks".
- Pianist Balazs Szokolay