Thomas Yu, piano (Winner, 2006 Paris Concours des Grand Amateurs, 2016 Cliburn International Amatuer Competition)
Pierre Michel Durand, conductor
Orchestre Symphonique du Conservatoire de Paris
France 2 TV
Dr. Thomas Yu likes to think of his dual existence as a professional periodontist and an amateur pianist as separate parts of his life, but there are times when they overlap.
Yu keeps a piano in his clinic office, which he uses to practise whenever he has time between dental surgeries. The problem, as Yu puts it, is that he never has time.
“I do have a piano in my office that I’ll practise on after the day is done … it makes for a great conversation piece,” he says with a laugh. “Patients love to see, they’re surprised to see something like that in a dental office, for sure.”
Even during an interview for The StarPhoenix — conducted during Yu’s lunch break, between two surgeries in the morning and three more in the afternoon — Yu said it can be tough to balance his work life, his home life, and his piano playing.
“For the most part of my life, I never thought of it as a challenge until I had two kids,” he said. “A bulk of my time is spent practising after they’ve been put to bed.”
Yu is on his way back to Saskatoon to play with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra at its Feb. 8 concert. He’ll play Piano Concerto No. 5, also called “Egyptian,” by Camille Saint-Saëns. The program will also feature works by Canadian composers Vincent Ho and Nicole Lizée, and a suite from Igor Stravinsky’s Pulcinella.
Although he is technically an amateur piano player (since he has a separate, full-time profession), Yu is a good reminder that the term “amateur” does not equate to a lower level of skill when compared to a professional. He played a portion of the Saint-Saëns concerto when he won the world-renowned Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition in 2016.
Now, ahead of the next iteration of the quadrennial competition that takes place in March, Yu said he’s thrilled to have the opportunity to play the whole piece with a full orchestra.
“It’s on my bucket list to play the whole concerto,” Yu said. “I don’t know if the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra has ever played it before. It’s that special … I just hope they feel that same sense of magic I do when I play it.”
Having lived in Saskatoon, Yu said coming back to the city is like “coming home.” He has friends and family still living in the area — including some close friends who are current players in the SSO — so he gets to come back and perform for a genuine hometown audience.
His piano playing has to come between time for work and time for his young family, but it hasn’t dulled his skills — and he’s about to have another unique opportunity to play with an orchestra. Not bad for an amateur.
“At work, I am on my best behaviour. When I’m at the piano, I get to let loose and let my soul speak,” he said. “In that way, I think I get to use my body to its full potential.”
The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra’s concert with Thomas Yu takes place on Saturday, Feb. 8 at TCU Place.
▍2011年，美國插畫家弘穆司（Jon J. Muth）依據巴布狄倫（Bob Dylan）名曲《風中飄盪》（Blowin’ in the Wind）繪製同名繪本。民謠《風中飄盪》兼具社會意識與哲學深度，以劃過天空的砲彈隱喻戰爭；以簡單的＂men＂代指致力推翻不公的人們。詞曲未提任何具體事件或個人，僅清晰傳遞關於愛、正義與平等的純粹訊息。針對《風中飄盪》，巴布狄倫有不同唱法，有時滿懷希望與光亮，像看見紅氣球升空；有時則充滿懷疑與失落；像看見紅氣球被刺破。
▍2019年，弘穆司繪本《風中飄盪》（Blowin’ in the Wind）在台問世。弘穆司以孩童、紅氣球、紙飛機和民謠吉他貫穿全書，分別代指純真、希望、白鴿與反戰。弘穆司的《風中飄盪》觀點可說與《蒼蠅王》壁壘分明。繪本《風中飄盪》同樣將幾名兒童設定於田園山水，全書也無成人身影（除了監獄牆後向紅氣球招手的黑人囚奴們），然而一改《蒼蠅王》逼視人性劣根的路線，弘穆司將孩童群聚山丘或一同划舟，帶著自省眼光行經監獄、高牆、砲口與冰山，將紅氣球抱於懷中或飄立空中。在歌詞「要犧牲多少人，才明白太多生命消失在人間？」（Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows,That too many people have died?）這頁，孩子們更將紅氣球繫於象徵列強的加農砲口。細線如絲在風中飄盪，繫起一場善惡之間懸而未決的永恆角力。
▍最後，時間來到今天。12月10日是國際人權日，為你點播一首Bob Dylan的（Blowin’ in the Wind），也邀請你閱讀弘穆司繪本《風中飄盪》，看看孩子們如何飄揚、高掛、分享、珍視他們的紅氣球🎈