Rosey Chan grew up exposed to totally different kinds of music. Whereas her mother enjoyed Michael Jackson and The Beatles, her father would listen to Elgar and Beethoven. Long car journeys were invariably accompanied by pianist Mitsuko Uchida playing Mozart, creating associations between music, sight and landscapes which have permanently shaped Rosey’s approach towards music.
At the age of nine, Rosey won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music and endured the rigours of a traditional education in classical piano and composition. That same year, a friend took her to the Barbican to watch the award-winning French piano duo, the Labèque Sisters. The concert blew her mind and afterwards, she thought, “That’s what I want to do!”
Rosey went on to attend the Royal College of Music, London. There, she furthered her classical training but also found herself exposed to a wider spectrum of musical practice including composition, conducting, choral, chamber and orchestral music.
The mentorship of legendary piano teacher, Yonty Solomon, had a big influence on her musical persona. She was amazed that Yonty was originally a jazz pianist who had only begun studying classical piano at the age of fourteen. Each of their musical tutorials would begin with improvisation and Yonty actively encouraged her to explore all genres of music.
Thus, at the age of twenty, she invited her fellow student, Cassie Yukawa, to form a duo with her. The Yukawa/Chan duo played both classical and contemporary music to great acclaim in concert halls like the Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall but they ultimately parted ways, largely because Rosey wanted to explore a more experimental direction in both composing and performing, especially improvisation.
This continuous search for new and unprecedented modes of music-making has been the animating inspiration of her career ever since. It also explains her penchant for collaboration: Each new project affords her another opportunity to learn and expand the scope of her own experience and imagination.
Thus, Chan’s career has never fallen under one easy classification. Rather, she plays and interpolates between contemporary, classical, jazz and electronica, frequently interweaving film, dance and spoken word elements into her performances. Her most recent album, 8 Years of My Life, is perfect testament to the breadth of her repertoire and passions. She also makes a point of recording one concerto a year.
“Music is a passport, a universal, abstract emotional language which allows me to access different disciplines and enables collaboration with different art forms. It’s never really about where it’s going to go, it’s the process which fascinates me. That’s why I’ll never stop. At the end of the day, it’s really about communication,” Rosey says. It explains why her collaborations fall across such a diverse range and include electronica, dance, film, architecture, fashion, spoken word and art.
Rosey Chan is a Steinway Artist.