For over 12 years, Rufus Lin has given well over a hundred solo piano recitals on various international stages, including his favourite concert venue: the intimate 50-seat Shibuya Hall in Tokyo.
A Canadian jazz pianist, contemporary classical music composer and recording artist based in Vancouver and Tokyo, Lin surrounds himself daily with the glory of music.
Born in Singapore, Lin has been a Canadian citizen for over 30 years. He obtained his Cambridge A Levels in Music and Grade VIII in the ABRSM system. He performed as a piano soloist in the Grieg concerto and the Mozart K488 concerto with the Singapore Combined Schools Orchestra under Goh Say Meng.
After a successful and varied career as a classical music critic for the Singapore Sunday Times, television host of “It’s IT” for the Asian News Network, interviewing CEOs of global high-tech companies, researcher and faculty member at York University, Toronto; Temasek Polytechnic and Kent Ridge Digital Labs, Singapore; and BCIT, Vancouver.
Lin is also the founder of multiple small businesses, including being involved in patent translation, mobile gaming, and the music industry.
Lin Captures a Presence of Mind
“I am primarily self-taught when performing on the piano, but I have been playing professionally for years. I began exploring the piano seriously at 14 years old, often spending six to eight hours practicing classical piano.”
Jazz would come later in life after he had heard the great performers from the 1930s to the 1960s. As a classical pianist, Lin struggled many years ago trying to play jazz, but it was not until he had listened to enough jazz that he found the sudden ability to swing!
“I firmly believe that, without question, the highest, the most sophisticated musical achievement of the human race must surely be Western classical, jazz and Indian classical music.”
Lin cites Johann Sebastian Bach as the composer he is most passionate about. To him, Bach’s music is timeless, often scored with no instructions to the performer other than the notes, and like this, retains its beauty when arranged for various ensembles not known in his day. It is the closest thing to the abstract essence of music.
His love of composers and songwriters is relatively eclectic and includes Tchaikovsky, Satie, Palestrina, Jimmy van Heusen, Cole Porter, Paul Simon, and beloved Canadian Leonard Cohen.
Performing for the People
Lin began giving jazz concert recitals in concert halls in Tokyo in 2010, taking a different approach from typical jazz pianists in cocktail lounges and jazz bars. He also gives recitals in Vancouver on Fazioli grand pianos, including his concert grand at Lulu Island Winery in Richmond and the Butterfly Fazioli at Westbank‘s headquarters in downtown Vancouver.
Lin sometimes leads jazz trios and quartets in his concerts and has released several albums and singles, both as CDs and on streaming platforms. These albums vary in genre, including healing piano, contemporary classical and jazz standards.
As a composer of classical music, Lin has published a wide variety of pieces for orchestras, choirs, ensembles and solo instruments, with several pieces for the piano, such as Moonlight Prelude (to be played immediately before Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata), Variations on a Theme from Finlandia (Sibelius), Au Canada (a contrapuntal rhapsody on harmonic progressions in O Canada), and many original works.
Various orchestras and artists have performed these pieces in Japan and South Korea, including the Art Aim String Ensemble under Ryuichi Horikoshi, the Kammar Abend Philharmoniker under Hideyuki Koyanagi, and several concert pianists, including South Korean pianist YoonYoung Choi and Japanese pianist Gen Segawa.
Lin is always at work in the recording studio and is currently working on a multi-genre album of selected preludes and fugues from J S Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, presented in three ways: classical, jazz and arrangements for 17 synthesizers.
When we asked Lin about his introduction to the renowned Fazioli brand, he shared, “For years, I had been playing on Steinway, Yamaha and Bosendorfer pianos, but I had heard good things from fellow musicians about Fazioli pianos. One day, about five years ago, I played a Fazioli at Manuel Bernaschek‘s Showcase Fazioli Pianos store at Aberdeen Centre in Richmond.”
Lin was enthralled with the responsiveness of the key to hammer linkage, the soundboard’s ability to convey the pianist’s expressive intentions, and the (possibly imagined!) way the piano seemed to adapt to the performer instead of the other way around.
To him, this was the ultimate performer’s piano, and from that day on, he resolved to find a way to incorporate Fazioli into his recital schedule as much as possible.
Fulfilling that promise to himself, Lin has since performed on Fazioli in both the Vancouver and Richmond Showcase Pianos locations, the Butterfly Fazioli at Shaw Tower, the Kengo Kuma Fazioli, the Cloud Fazioli, the Fazioli concert grand at Shibuya Hall in Tokyo, and his at Lulu Island Winery.
Showcase Piano owner Bernaschek and Lin have developed a close friendship that revolves around what many consider the finest keyboard instrument ever to be conceived and constructed, the Fazioli.
Previously, Bernaschek and Lin often crossed paths, either at Stefano Ricci in Vancouver’s Luxury Zone or various recitals around the city, and quickly realized that each other held excellent taste in Italian clothing, pianos, and (best of all) Italian food!
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Communications, publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, and multiple digital lifestyle blogs. She is a content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist in the luxury lifestyle niche. She is a regular content contributor to Retail-Insider and has a vast freelance portfolio including Boulevard English & Chinese editions, Indulge, and Montecristo Magazine. When not attending high-profile events in Vancouver's 'Luxury Zone’ or on assignment abroad, she is honing her plant-based cooking skills and caring for her rescues. [email protected]
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