Student of the Year Performing Artist winner, Elise Liu Chi-man has added another achievement to her growing collection. The Diocesan Girls’ School student clinched the title of Young International Musician of the Year (Instrumental) at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, North Wales last week. The 17-year-old Marimba player was awarded a £1500 (HK$15,000) cash prize.
Liu told Young Post the win came as a surprise as she feared the judges would not be familiar with her instrument. “Unlike violins, pianos or flutes, marimba is an unusual instrument, so I had to put all my effort into inspiring [the judges],” she said.
Liu insisted the choice of songs played an important role in her victory. In the first round, she performed J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in B flat BWV 866 and Keiko Abe’s Tambourin Paraphrase.
“Other musicians played Bach’s song on a keyboard, but I performed his solemn song with a brisk pace, giving it a livelier feeling. The second song required a high level of marimba technique. I needed to be able to produce a variety of ranges and hit the bars with the middle of the mallet shaft. I hoped my performance showed I have mastered the instrument enough to make beautiful melodies,” said Liu.
She also performed Astor Piazzolla’s Verano Porteno and Pietro Mascagni’s Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana. One of the ways Liu prepared for the competition was by listening to the original versions before applying a little creativity to make them her own.
“To make the songs more captivating, more dramatic and vibrant elements were needed. It’s more important to show them what I can do by producing a new version of the songs.”
Liu said she would spend her summer taking part in the Young Artist Summer Programme at Curtis Summerfest 2016 in Philadelphia, in the US.