Saturday, August 28, 2021, 8 pm
at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


Daniel Hsu  徐翔  piano
Bronze Medalist, Fifteenth Van Cliburn
International Piano Competition

Photo Credit: Jeremy Enlow/The Cliburn




~ Program ~

Robert Schumann (1810–1856):
Scenes from Childhood, op. 15
Of Foreign Lands and Peoples
A Curious Story
Blind Man’s Bluff
Pleading Child
Happy Enough
An Important Event
At the Fireside
Knight of the Hobbyhorse
Almost Too Serious
Child Falling Asleep
The Poet Speaks

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827):
Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, op. 110
Moderato cantabile molto espressivo
Allegro molto
Adagio ma non troppo
Fuga – Allegro ma non troppo
~ Intermission ~

Franz Liszt (1811–1886):
Sonata in B Minor, S. 178

Credits: Mr. Hsu appears by arrangement with the Cliburn.

Foundation for
Chinese Performing Arts


Quote from Geoffrey Wieting of The Boston Musical Intelligencer in a title of
"Pianist Sings With Uncommon Poetic Gifts"

"Twenty-two-year-old Daniel Hsu courageously selected three well-beloved works of the piano repertoire which demanded a significant degree of intellectual as well as technical mastery for his recital at the Gardner last Saturday night. While the 2017 Van Cliburn Bronze Medalist’s interpretations rarely expanded the boundaries of the mainstream, he evinced a sufficiently individual and personal approach to suggest that he had spent time pondering the music away from the keyboard.

"(In Schumann’s Kinderszenen) While his takes on the more adult-influenced (i.e., sophisticated) movements sounded consistently convincing, Hsu also revealed levels of introspection and simplicity beyond his tender years.

"Daniel Hsu possesses undoubted technical mastery, but his uncommon poetic gifts will be most important in attracting listeners to him. We hope to follow his career as his artistry deepens and expands."

photos: Chi Wei Lo, Xiaopei Xu and Chung Cheng

Daniel Hsu
徐翔,  pianist
Bronze Medalist, Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

Characterized by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “poet…[with] an expressive edge to his playing that charms, questions, and coaxes,” American pianist Daniel Hsu captured the bronze medal and prizes for best performance of both the commissioned work and chamber music at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Also a 2016 Gilmore Young Artist, first prize winner of the 2015 CAG Victor Elmaleh Competition, and bronze medalist of the 2015 Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, he is increasingly recognized for his easy virtuosity and bold musicianship.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Daniel Hsu began taking piano lessons at age 6 with Larisa Kagan. He made his concerto debut with the Fremont Symphony Orchestra at age 8, and his recital debut at the Steinway Society of the Bay Area at age 9, before being accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 10, along with his two older siblings. Since then, he has made his debuts with the Philadelphia Orchestra (2016) and Carnegie Hall (2017) as part of the CAG Winners Series at Weill Recital Hall. He has appeared in recitals at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, as well as in concerts in Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, and New York. With orchestra, Daniel has collaborated with the Tokyo, North Carolina, Grand Rapids, New Haven, and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras, working with conductors Leonard Slatkin, Nicholas McGegan, Cristian Măcelaru, Ruth Reinhardt, and Marcelo Lehninger.

The 2018–2019 season takes him across the United States in recital and concerto performances. Overseas, he performs with the National Orchestra of the Dominican Republic, joins Curtis-on-Tour in Europe, and makes appearances in China and Japan, where he has toured annually since his Hamamatsu success.

Daniel’s chamber music performance with the Brentano String Quartet earned him the Steven de Groote Memorial Award for the Best Performance of Chamber Music. The Dallas Morning News praised “his impassioned, eloquently detailed Franck Quintet,” proclaiming it to be “a boldly molded account, with a natural feeling for the rise and fall of intensity, the give and take of rubato. Both he and the Brentano seemed to be channeling the same life force.” He regularly tours the United States with the Verona String Quartet and in duo piano with his brother, Andrew, and appears frequently in chamber music festivals.

Decca Gold digitally launched Daniel’s first album featuring live recordings from the Cliburn Competition of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, op. 110, as well as his award-winning performance of Marc-André Hamelin’s Toccata on “L’homme armé.” He has also been featured in interviews and performances for WQXR, APM’s Performance Today, and Colorado Public Radio.

Now 21 years old, Daniel is currently the Richard A. Doran Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he has studied with Gary Graffman, Robert McDonald, and Eleanor Sokoloff.

He is a Marvel film buff and enjoys programming. He contributed to the creation of Workflow, a popular productivity app that allows users to automate tasks on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, which won the coveted 2015 Apple Design Award and was acquired by Apple in March 2017.

Steven De Groote Memorial Award for the Best Performance of Chamber Music
Beverley Taylor Smith Award for the Best Performance of a New Work



By Dr. Jannie Burdeti


Robert Schumann (1810–1856):
Scenes from Childhood, op. 15

“In man, there resides a tender genius that gently opens up gateways to new worlds and creations for the eternal child, and that, unnoticed and as if by chance, leads the youth in his first love to the blossoming spring with his beloved, uniting and revealing to each other their dreams.”                                                         —Robert Schumann (from his diary)

Throughout his life, the experience of childhood captivated the imagination of Robert Schumann, whether it was through his children, literature, or music. While he wrote some pieces explicitly for children to play, Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), Op. 15, was meant for adult consumption, a reminiscence about life as a child. Composed in 1838, it was conceived as a set of thirty pieces to be a part of his Novelletten, Op. 21, but Schumann later decided on separating the sets.

The first piece, “Of Foreign Lands and Peoples,” expresses childlike wonder. Its melody opens with the notes B-G-F#-E-D, which will thenceforth appear throughout the entire cycle as a unifying motive. “A Curious Story” follows and is full of excitement, portraying an eager child listening to a story. The subsequent “Blind Man’s Bluff” was a childhood game that he played with Clara and her younger brother, Alwin, when Schumann lived at their house. It is in essence a form of tag, similar to Marco Polo.” “Pleading Child” begins and ends the same way, on an unresolved chord, as if to ask, “Please?” The next piece answers with “Happy Enough”—perhaps the child made do with what they had. “An Important Event” asserts itself, full of pompous rhythms. The most famous piece of the whole collection is “Dreaming,” or Träumerei, a favorite encore of Vladimir Horowitz. It suggests a child’s inner dreamworld, possibly taking place “At the Fireside,” the following piece. The twelfth piece, “Child Falling Asleep,” is gentle, swaying, and subdued. Schumann later added the thirteenth and final piece, “The Poet Speaks,” to be included in the publication. Here, Schumann breaks the fourth wall and emerges as a grown-up for the first time in the piece, addressing the audience in the most intimate and eloquent of moments.  

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827):
Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, op. 110

Beethoven’s Sonata in A-flat Major, completed by the end of 1821, is the second in his final trilogy of sonatas, Op. 109, Op. 110, and Op. 111. At the time, he was also working on Missa solemnis, his Ninth Symphony, and the Op. 111 Piano Sonata. That year had been a tremendously trying one physically: he had suffered an attack of rheumatic fever in January, only then to undergo jaundice in July for two months (a prequel to one of the probable causes of his death, liver cirrhosis). Moreover, by this time, he was wearing a body belt due to pain in his abdomen.

As in some of his other late works, Beethoven touches upon so many dimensions of the human experience in this sonata. He is not afraid to juxtapose spiritual heights with the utterly profane. The piece begins harmoniously, in four-part quartet writing, with a theme (falling third, rising fourth) in the right hand that will inform the entire sonata. The first movement is, by appearance, strikingly harmless, almost abnormally lyrical for something written by Beethoven. Even the form is rather conventional. The development section is rather short, a series of sequences that unfolds with a sense of inevitability. The ending of the first movement is inconclusive, leading straight into the second movement.

The impetuous scherzo and trio comprises two themes that are identified by musicologists to be Unsa Kätz häd Katzln ghabt (Our cat has had kittens”) and Ich bin lüderlich, du bist lüderlich (I am a slob, you are a slob”). They were popular drinking songs of the time, and Beethoven would have identified with the second song, with its mention of lüderlich,” one who was untidy and “not fit for polite society.” Indeed, those that knew him were aware of his crazed and ragged appearance. A record exists from 1821 (the year he composed this sonata) about a brief trip he made to prison due to his attire. Beethoven, in his reverie, took a long walk and, only when it was too late, realized that he had lost his way in Wiener Neustadt. The police, noticing an unshaven and unkempt man looking into homes (perhaps hoping to ask someone for the directions), brought him to jail. When he claimed he was Beethoven, they did not believe him and said, “You’re a tramp. Beethoven doesn’t look like this.” The composer made a racket, requesting that Herr Herzog (a local music director) come to identify him in the middle of the night. Only after Herzog’s confirmation did the mayor arrive to apologize and release him. They exclaimed, “He keeps on yelling that he is Beethoven; but he’s a ragamuffin, has no hat, an old coat . . . nothing by which he can be identified.”

After this most earthy of movements comes the most metaphysical. When the second movement dissipates into the third movement, what ensues is an arioso coupled with a fugue, emblems of older styles of music and a juxtaposition of grief and hope for the beyond. A recitative, sobbing made audible, introduces the arioso. The theme of the arioso, in A-flat minor, is borrowed from a movement from Bach’s St. John Passion, Es ist vollbracht (“It is consummated”), describing when Christ gives up the mortal body. In Beethoven’s score, the description “Song of Lament” appears in both German and Italian. A sublime fugue subsequently unfolds, built upon the very same melody as the opening of the sonata. Yet it is not the end of the story, and the fugue dwindles. The arioso returns, this time in G minor, marked Ermattet, “exhausted.” After resonant, bell-like G-major chords are heard ringing from the lower recesses of the piano, the fugue emerges once again, phoenix-like, though this time turned upside down. It is all the more magical. Composer Vincent d’Indy remarked that the arioso is “one of the most poignant expressions of grief conceivable to man” and that the fugue is “an effort of will to shake off suffering. But the latter is the stronger . . . [its] will asserting itself against the forces of annihilation . . . the resurrection!” Indeed, the sonata concludes with boundless euphoria.

Franz Liszt (1811–1886):
Sonata in B Minor, S. 178

Considered by many to be his magnum opus, Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor is exceptional in its content, scope, and architectural mastery. Alan Walker declares that it was “arguably one of the greatest keyboard works to come out of the nineteenth century. If Liszt had written nothing else, he would have to be ranked as a master on the strength of this work alone.” Unlike most of his other works, it does not contain programmatic descriptions, and the wide-ranging hermeneutic interpretations offered by musicians seem insignificant when listed one after the other. Be it the Faust legend, a depiction of the Garden of Eden, or an autobiographical sketch, Liszt never in fact revealed his intention programmatically. For instance, he reused the same music from his choral cycle Les Quatre Éléments in Les Préludes, despite differing programmatic contexts. 

Its appellation of “sonata” is significant structurally—the form functions as a sonata on the local level, as well as macrocosmically. Walker writes, “Not only are its four contrasting movements rolled into one, but they are themselves composed against a background of a full-scale sonata scheme—exposition, development, and recapitulation. . . . In short, Liszt has composed ‘a sonata across a sonata.’” Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasie, which Liszt knew intimately as a performer, arranger, and editor, would have certainly been influential on the structuring of this piece. The Wanderer Fantasie, too, contains four movements linked and unified by themes that undergo a change in character, otherwise known as “thematic transformation.” Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, more than any of his other works, is the greatest of his “transformation of themes.”

While having three primary leitmotifs (themes that recur throughout the piece, representing a specific idea), it displays an astonishing degree of organicism. Each measure is deeply integrated with the rest of the work. In this sense, the pianist Claudio Arrau once dubbed Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor “Beethoven’s thirty-third piano sonata.”

The sonata is an eclectic amalgam of different styles, and Kenneth Hamilton writes that it ranges “from Germanic chromaticism and thematic development to Italianate lyricism, taking in elements from French grand opera and Hungarian Gipsy music along the way.” In its haunting introduction, one senses immediately the slight flavor of exoticism in the descending scalar passage (first in the Phrygian mode and then repeated as a “gypsy scale”). After a Mephistophelian outburst, the second theme, marked Grandioso, is everything the name implies. Hamilton observes that this portion invokes the French grand opera chorus. The slow section is the work’s emotional center. An acerbic fugue ensues and is astonishing in its role as the development of the sonata form. According to manuscripts, the composer had originally intended a loud, virtuosic ending, but later opted for a sublimated, introspective finish.

Fifteen years earlier, in 1839, Robert Schumann had dedicated his Fantasie in C Major, Op. 17, to Franz Liszt. Liszt was a great admirer of Schumann, and it was not until he completed the Sonata in B Minor that he felt he had composed something worthy enough to reciprocate this gesture. Unfortunately, Schumann was never to see the score, as in 1853, when the work was completed, he had already been admitted to the asylum. Clara Schumann, who received it, thoroughly disliked it. Nonetheless, Liszt’s friend Richard Wagner wrote to the composer upon hearing it: “Dearest Franz, you were with me, the sonata is beautiful beyond compare; great, sweet, deep and noble, sublime as you are yourself.” 
Copyright © 1999-20

Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts,  Lincoln, Massachusetts

徐翔 (Daniel Hsu) 音樂會後新聞稿

(Isabella Stewart Gardner Museumt) Calderwood 大廳中,舉行自去年十一月份以來,在疫情的陰影下,同一場地的第九場現場音樂會。當晚由2017年范克萊本 (Van Cliburn) 國際鋼琴大賽銅牌獎主徐翔 Daniel Hsu 演出舒曼的童年回憶組曲,貝多芬第31 Op.110 奏鳴曲,及李斯特的B小調奏鳴曲。 包括音樂界多位名師在內,當晚有200人在現場欣賞。在曲終最後一個音符之後,觀眾立刻起立,報以熱情歡呼及掌聲。

(The Boston Musical Intelligencer) 資深樂評 Geoffrey Wieting,以 『鋼琴家用非凡的詩人才華歌唱』 為題盛讚徐翔。並對主辦單位長期支持樂壇新秀的重要性表示肯定。樂評說: 『徐翔勇敢地選了極需要智慧及傑出技巧,並且是大家喜愛的三首鋼琴經典,作為當晚的曲目。 他的詮釋中肯,不僅表現出他的高超琴藝,並且顯示出他在琴鍵之外的多方追求。』

樂評說: 『舒曼的童年回憶,作曲家表現兩種不同的特性,沉思夢幻及熱情激進,期間又有多層次的模糊不清。 徐翔很有技巧地將兒童的天真單純及成年人的懷舊心情融洽在一起,令人回味。』 在整曲
13片段中,樂評仔細分享討論,他說: 『徐翔用他歌唱的聲音,帶領我們穿越多處大調小調的轉折,處處顯示超越他實際年齡的成熟。』

31Op.110奏鳴曲,是他在身心都受到很大的壓力下完成的,好像是他對這塵世的告別。有好多疑問也試著回答。樂評說: 『徐翔用他特別的歌唱式的琶音,上升下滑充滿感情。有問有答,有悲傷失敗者的挫折,有浴火重生,復活感恩的喜悅,表現出貝多芬 “三隻手” 的效果。如沒有成熟的琴技,是不可能展現的。』

B小調奏鳴曲被稱為鋼琴中的 『喜馬拉雅山』,充滿了不同的情感意境。樂評再次說: 『沒有成熟的技巧及充分的想像力是不能勝任的。徐翔再度表現他非常難得的詩人特色。』


102日週六晚8點於新英格蘭音樂學院喬頓廳(NEC’s Jordan Hall) 開場。喬頓廳規定僅有480單獨座位,曲目不得超過90分鐘,沒有中場休息,觀眾需戴口罩,並出示打過疫苗的證明才可進場。門票即將開始出售。提供學生免費票及非學生贈送券,請上網預訂:。主辦單位希望提供高品質的音樂給大眾,不論是否可負擔入場券費用,都歡迎。也希望有心人慷慨樂捐,幫助分擔場租,出場費,錄音等等費用。


   查詢: 中華表演藝術基金會會長譚嘉陵, 電話: 781-259-8195


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Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts
Lincoln, Massachusetts
updated 2021