Meet Finalist Alex Chen (Getting to Know the 2021 St. Louis Teen Talent Competition Finalists)

Name: Alex Chen

School: Marquette High School

Talent: Piano

How long have you been performing and what inspired you to start?
I have been studying and performing piano now for over ten years. I always loved music as a child and liked going to the symphony a lot when I was young. I got to see some of my idols play at Powell Hall and that’s what got me inspired to start performing.

How are you preparing for finals? Are you doing anything differently from your usual practices?
I’m relatively used to performing on stages and I have a routine that I go through whenever performances arise. I think the one thing that’s very different is the size of my program – I usually bring large programs from the size of 20 to 60 minutes, but this time, I have one shot at 2 minutes. It’s certainly helped me focus on every little detail of my piece.

What will performing on the Fox stage mean to you?
I think this performance will be a milestone in many different ways. For one, it’s my first public performance in over a year. COVID has really thrown a wrench into the world of the arts, and I’m just glad to be back on any stage again. That being said, the Fox stage will also be the biggest stage I’ve ever played on, so I think it could really be a breakout moment. I’m very honored to have this opportunity and I’ll make the best of it.

Is there someone you look up to and draw influence form for your talent?
Lang Lang was a great inspiration when I first started piano, and he’s remained an inspiration ever since. As I’ve matured, I’ve also started looking up to some other idols in the piano world such as Emanuel Ax and Evgeny Kissin, who are two wonderful pianists who also are giving back to their communities.

What has been the highlight of your performance career?
This is a tough question. I think the current answer to this is my orchestral debut with the Belleville Philharmonic since I had a wonderful time working with the people there. I’m also kind of secretly hoping that this experience will become the new highlight, but I’m willing to wait for it.

What do you hope to learn from your experience?
I’ve already learned so much about stage presence and what it takes to put on a performance of this caliber. That being said, I came into Teen Talent wanting to meet great people, make friends, and become more exposed to the arts in general, and I think that Fox has delivered. I’m very excited to learn and perform alongside my peers, and can’t wait for the final performance!

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