A New Meaning For "Amateur Hour"

By James David Jacobs

May 27

Angela Lee Tien of Winchester, Massachusetts, lists her occupation as “Homemaker.” She’s the proud mother of three boys. Her post-college professional career consists of performing clerical duties for Cantata Singers, a job that she enjoyed; she describes herself as “task-oriented.”

So it takes a bit of effort to absorb the information that this quiet, unassuming woman played a Mozart piano concerto with both the Boston Pops and the Boston Symphony when she was nine years old, played again with the BSO when she was 16 (Rachmaninov this time), attended Juilliard as an undergraduate and got her master’s from the New England Conservatory.

She’s one of 72 competitors (and the sole representative of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!) who entered the sixth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, sponsored by the Van Cliburn Foundation, taking place this week in Fort Worth. For her performance in the Preliminary round last Tuesday, Angela performed Debussy’s Claire de lune, the C-sharp minor prelude and fugue from Book I of J. S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, and the Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolcom.

As of this writing on Friday, I’m happy to report that Angela made it to the Semifinals, which is taking place today and tomorrow. She will play the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata, Op. 31, No. 3, and Prokofiev’s Toccata. If she makes it into the final round on Sunday, Angela will take on the Liszt Sonata in B minor.

I spoke with Angela last week, just a couple of days before she flew to Texas, and I hope you'll join me on Saturday morning at 10am for some of that conversation.  And if you missed it or want to hear the entire conversation, just listen here:

Once she's back in Boston, she'll be joining me for more conversation, along with a performance from the Steinway in our Fraser Performance Studio, which you can hear next Saturday.

(photo:  Krista Guenin)


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