La Salle’s Kevin Chan Steps into the Spotlight
Kevin Chan, a La Salle junior and an accomplished pianist, has been selected as a semi-finalist in the prestigious Music Center Spotlight Awards competition. A panel of judges selected Kevin to be one of the 15 semi-finalists in the classical instrumental music category.
The Music Center Spotlight Awards is one of the nation’s most acclaimed performing and visual arts education programs for teens in Southern California. The program offers training in the arts and awards more than $100,000 in scholarships annually to finalists and semi-finalists.
This year, 1,194 Southern California high school students auditioned in six categories: ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental and jazz instrumental. Fifteen students in each category were named as semi-finalists in each category. In the first round of the competition, Kevin performed two works, Haydn Piano Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI/49: Allegro and Liszt Grandes etudes de Paganini, S141 – No. 3 in G sharp minor (La Campanella). He will play the two pieces again in March to a different panel of judges.
To become one of the top 15 classical student musicians in Los Angeles County takes years of hard work and dedication.
Kevin began taking piano lessons when he was 5 years old. His mentors are distinguished teachers, including his current teacher Dr. Grace Xia Zhao of the University of La Verne, with whom he has studied for the past year, and Antoinette Perry of the Thornton School of Music at USC. La Salle students and families have heard him accompanying the school’s choir during concerts and playing in the Jazz Band. “Music has always been the way I have been able to express myself,” said Kevin. “My favorite classical era is the Romantic era. It’s more lush and subjective and expressive.”
In addition to taking Honors Physics, AP U.S. History, precaluculus, and other courses, Kevin practices piano two hours every day. When competitions are close at hand, he practices for up to four hours daily. “You challenge yourself to get as far as you can, and I just take it on,” Kevin said.
Kevin has received multiple awards at the Southwestern Youth Music Festival, Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC) branch, and MTAC state solo piano competitions. Most recently in 2011, Kevin won second place in MTAC West Los Angeles Branch Alice Frazier Kitchen Memorial Scholarship competition. Kevin will audition again in late March to determine who will advance as the two performers to vie as finalists in the category. The final competition will be at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in April.