Winner of the 2002 Orléans Concours International and Laureate of the 2003 Honens International Piano Competition, Canadian pianist Winston Choi is an inquisitive performer whose fresh approach to standard repertory, and masterful understanding, performance and commitment to works by living composers, make him one of today’s most dynamic young concert artists.
Choi maintains an active international performing schedule. In demand as a concerto soloist, orchestras he has appeared with include the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the CBC Radio Orchestra, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, La Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia, l’Orchestre Symphonique d’Orléans, the Missisauga Symphony Orchestra, the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.
Known for his colorful approach to programming and insightful commentary from the stage, Choi has recently appeared in recital at the National Arts Centre of Canada, the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, New York’s Carnegie-Weill Recital Hall and Merkin Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Kravis Center in Florida, Berlin’s “Klavierfieber” Festival and the “Cicle Grans Solistes” in Spain. Choi performs extensively in France, having played venues such as the Salle Cortot, Lille’s Festival Rencontre Robert Casadesus, the Messiaen Festival, and the Strasbourg Festival. Frequently in demand throughout his native Canada, he has been awarded numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts. His numerous performances can often be heard on CBC radio broadcasts. Recently, he toured Eastern Ontario and Quebec under the auspices of Jeunesses Musicales and embarked on a 10-city Prairie Debut tour of the Canadian Prairie provinces. Choi is currently touring with Bach's epic Art of Fugue. An accomplished chamber musician, he performs regularly with his wife, MingHuan Xu as Duo Diorama, as well as with the Pivot Chamber Soloists and the Civitas Ensemble.
As a dedicated champion of contemporary music, Choi has premiered and commissioned over 100 works by young composers as well as established masters. A composer himself, being involved with the creative process is an integral part of his artistry. He was the first pianist to perform Pierre Boulez’s last version of Incises in North America and made the South American premiere of Luciano Berio‘s Sonata for pianoforte solo. He also regularly appears in concert at IRCAM, the world’s most renowned institution for contemporary music. Composers he has collaborated with include William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, Brian Ferneyhough, Bright Sheng, Christian Wolff, Chen Yi and John Zorn. He is also a core member of the new music ensemble Brave New Works and the Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente. His upcoming performances include piano concerti by Jeffrey Mumford and John Melby.
Choi’s debut solo recording, the complete piano works of Elliott Carter (l’Empreinte Digitale in France) was given five stars by BBC Music Magazine. He has also recorded the piano music of Jacques Lenot for the Intrada label, having won the Grand Prix du Disque from l’Académie Charles Cros for Volume I. He can also be heard on other record labels including Albany, AMP, Arktos, Crystal Records, Naxos and QuadroFrame.
Choi began his studies in Toronto with James Tweedie and Vivienne Bailey. He obtained both his Bachelor and Master Degrees at Indiana University, studying with Menahem Pressler. Further studies were with Ursula Oppens at Northwestern University, where he completed his Doctorate of Music. An accomplished teacher, he is also in demand as a master class clinician. Previously on the faculties of Bowling Green State University and the Oberlin Conservatory, he is Associate Professor and Head of Piano at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.