Jeffrey Chin at age 12 aspires to be a concert pianist
Youth involved in classical music in Denver face long hours of practice and sacrifice precious time away from their friends in order to advance their instrumental skills. This was stated by Dr. Alejandro Cremaschi, President of the Colorado State Music Teachers Association (CSMTA), in a letter describing Jeffrey Chin.
The letter was written to Fox Ridge Middle School sharing the exciting news that Chin had been selected as the Middle School Division winner in a state-wide music competition sponsored by CSMTA.
“He is one of an elite group of only three music students state-wide, who will perform their winning selection with the Colorado Chamber Orchestra, a professional orchestra,” said Cremaschi.
On January 26, Chin gave his debut piano soloist performance with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) at the Denver Performing Arts Center’s Boettcher Hall in downtown Denver. The solo performance opportunity was awarded to Chin after he won First Place Middle School Division in the 2012 Steinway Piano Concerto Competition, sponsored by Schmitt Music of Denver.
He performed Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor at the CSO Side-by-Side Concert, which also featured the Denver Young Artists Orchestra. Afterward, the audience gave him a standing ovation. Scott O’Neill, Resident Conductor at CSO, said Chin’s performance put a smile on his face. Chin commented to his family later that he felt “electric” as he bowed to the cheering audience.
Born and raised in Denver, Chin’s music passion started when he was just a newborn. In the first week of his life, he became ill with neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, a condition which required him to undergo extended phototherapy while lying bare-skinned and alone in an incubator. To calm his agitation and crying, his parents placed a toy mobile near his incubator that played gentle Baby Mozart music. The newborn immediately responded physically by calming down his body movements as he listened to the toy mobile.
In his toddler years, ‘little Jeffrey’ often spent time playing with an old family Yamaha electric keyboard on the floor, as he listened to favorite demo classical tunes such as Turkish March and Minute Waltz recorded on the keyboard. He watched the Yamaha keyboard screen intently as it displayed music notes moving up and down the staff following the demo tunes. Music symbols and notations found in songbooks soon piqued his curiosity, leading him to ask questions such as “what does augmented D minor mean?”
At age 7, Chin participated in a fun introductory group keyboard classes at the Children’s Music Academy in Parker, Colo. He enjoyed the activity so much that his parents decided to sign him up for formal piano lessons.
The next year, Chin began studying piano privately with Mrs. Jasmine Steadman, a conservatory-trained pianist with a studio in Aurora, Colo. Under his piano teacher’s careful guidance and expert instruction, he won six consecutive first place piano competition awards in the last three years: Kawai Baker (2011 Competitive II), Schmitt Music (2012 Advanced Competitive II and 2013 Competitive II), Colorado State Music Teachers Association Concerto (2011 Elementary and 2014 Junior), and Steinway Concerto (2012 Middle School). Judges from nearby universities praised him for his musical sensitivity and mature expression in performing Mendelssohn, Bach, Mozart and Liszt. He later began receiving additional bi-weekly technical training from Larry Graham, a former Juilliard School graduate and retired CU Boulder piano professor.
In February 2012, Chin performed with the Boulder Symphony Orchestra, playing Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major: Andante. At age 11, he performed with the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO, playing Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K 453: Allegro.
At age 12, Chin was selected to perform in a master class given by Van Cliburn Gold Medalist, Olga Kern, during which he played Chopin’s Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22. In 2014, he placed first in the Junior Division at a state-wide concerto competition sponsored by CSMTA, which awarded him an opportunity to perform as soloist with the Colorado Chamber Orchestra. Chin plans to study piano in college and dreams of performing as a concert pianist at Carnegie Hall someday.
He attends Fox Ridge Middle School in the Cherry Creek School District and goes to Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo. He also attends Great Wall Chinese Academy where he is learning Mandarin. Outside of piano, he enjoys origami, robotics, and tennis.
The 12-year-old receives encouragement from his two older sisters, Amanda and Kimberly, who also studied piano, flute and guitar when they were young. Amanda currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, where she is an English instructor at Rikkyo University, and regularly initiates FaceTime chats with the family to stay informed about Jeffrey’s music progress. Kimberly is a recent graduate of CU-Boulder and takes time from her busy schedule as an intern with InterVarsity campus ministry in Fort Collins, Colo. to visit home and listen to Jeffrey practice piano. His dad, Dewey, is a physician at Kaiser Permanente in Wheat Ridge and his mom, Lana, stays at home to manage the family’s activities. Jeffrey’s maternal grandmom, Wan-Jam Jeng, who is 80 years old, routinely travels from her home in Plano, TX, to attend his recitals and concerts.
Visit Jeffrey Chin’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/deweylana2006 to hear his music.