by Grace Fong
Named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts by the President of the United States, Washington, D.C.; presented a medallion by the President and awarded a concert at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
Winner of the Christel DeHaan American Pianists Association Classical Fellowship Awards
Grand Prize Winner in the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts Competition, Miami, Florida
Recipient of the Valerie Scudder Award, Chapman University, for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching, Scholarships, and Service
Gold Medal Winner in the Wideman International Piano Competition
Winner of the Music Academy of the West Festival Concerto Competition
1st place winner of the Edith Knox Performance Competition, CA
1st place winner of the Los Angeles Liszt Competition, CA
Prizewinner of Bosendorfer International Piano Competition, Arizona
Prizewinner and Iakhov Chernikhov Special Prize, and Viardo Special Prize of Viardo International Piano Competition
Prizewinner, Leeds International Piano Competition
Prizewinner, San Antonio International Piano Competition, and Prize for Best Classical Performance
Prizewinner, Baroque Prize, Cleveland International Piano Competition
Prizewinner of the Leni Febland National Piano Competition
Prizewinner of the Showcase Competition, CA
The Distinguished Alumni Award of the Colburn School, Los Angeles
Honored as a National Distinguished Member of the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Organization
3-time awardee of Chapman University’s Faculty Scholarly/Creative Research Grant
Selected to present Chapman University’s Annual Lectio Magistralis, the Chancellor’s Premiere Lecture Series at Chapman University
Delta Tau Delta Faculty Award, Delta Tau Delta Fraternity CU chapter, for
commitment to higher education
Chapman University Faculty Appreciation Award, for bringing passion, dedication, excitement to the Chapman Community
Recipient of William Kurzban Prize in Piano, Cleveland Institute of Music
Recipient of Sadie Zellen Piano Prize, Cleveland Institute of Music
University of Southern California
Trustee Scholar, recipient of a full-tuition scholarship at USC, 4 years/summers
Renaissance Scholar Prize Winner, University of Southern California
Dean’s Letter of Merit Award: School of Public Policy and Management, University of
The USC Thornton School of Music’s Outstanding Student of the Piano Department —
The Indianapolis Star
Stunning control, in various musical styles...a particular aspect of performing that makes her distinctive...technical prowess...elegant restraint...big, expressive sound and wonderfully hushed diminuendo...her precision allowed for clear appreciation of the various musical lines.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
For sheer beauty of sound and hushed dynamics, no one was more persuasive than Grace Fong, whose performance of eight of Schumann's "Fantasiestucke" balanced enchantment with ardor.
Fong played with an easy elegance. . . painting impressionistic landscapes with hardly any drips or smudges, Fong landed her notes gently on the ear like snowflakes.
Phoenix: Arizona Central
The program opened with the Grieg, and it was immediately a revelation. Not only did Fong play the music as lovingly as you might expect a Chopin nocturne...Fong gave us rhythmic variation as the core of her interpretation. . . beauty of her phrasing and the depth of her expression.
Indianapolis: NUVO Newsweekly
One of Indy's two 2009-awarded American Pianists Association Fellows, Fong has since returned here from Southern California a number of times for solo recitals and concert appearances. Each time she has mesmerized with her essentially faultless playing.
With K. 271 she shared one of Mozart's supreme compositions, possibly as Mozart himself might have played it (or wished it done). Every note audible with perfect phrasing, clean articulation and delicate nuance—seemingly effortless passage and octave work in the difficult final movement . . . one sits back and goes, wow!
Columbia Daily Tribune
The Missouri River Festival of the Arts in Boonville has been around for 37 years. Each year, I say to Frank Thacher, the president of the Friends of Historic Boonville and the driving force behind the festival, that it can't get any better and still be earth-bound. Last year, I said it doesn't get any better — then it did. . . Grace Fong, a charming, young veteran of the concert stage, opened on the piano with a forerunner of things to come. We heard Rachmaninov and a piano quintet by Antonin Dvorak that started the pigeons from their perches. . . The director of keyboard studies at Chapman University . . . then proceeded to give the performance of a lifetime [with Mozart’s Concerto]—She brought tears to the eyes and three curtain calls. . . and two stunning encores.
Joining the orchestra, Chapman faculty pianist Grace Fong played Grieg’s Piano Concerto like gangbusters, no danger of the orchestra covering her, and then turned around and offered, in encore, a subtly poetic, gently swaying performance of Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” The new Steinway she performed on sounded excellent.
Indianapolis: NUVO Newsweekly
"Grace Fong's Grand Encounter"
Sunday afternoon’s IHC Basile Theater was nearly full for the American Pianists Association’s first Grand Encounter Series program of 2011. Even ISO conductor laureate Raymond Leppard was in attendance. And he surely couldn’t have been more gratified to be greeted by Grace Fong (she spoke, introducing us to the program before playing), the most startling pianistic talent to emerge as an APA Fellow (one of two in 2009) since the series relocated here from New York in the 1980s.
Of her appearances here since her Fellowship award — one a solo recital at Butler, another a concerto performance with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra — she has continued to mesmerize us with her uncanny control of all facets of keyboard technique and musicianship.
I’m always astonished to hear what Fong’s keyboard work gives to me: a perfect sense of touch, fingerwork, trilling, chordal exchanges and pedaling, unimpeded by technical challenges or tempo limits to make it through obstacles without slips. Moreover, Fong senses what the music need--and it just happens. Bring them back--at least bring Fong back.
Indiana Business Journal
Clutching the bench as if needing to force herself not to continue playing. Staring down the keys as if daring them to work on their own. Listening intently to the other players during the brief downtime in Schumann's "Concerto in A Minor for Piano and Orchestra." Pianist Grace Fong brought an immediacy and drama to center stage during her guest appearance with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra for its season-opening concert Oct. 1. In a bigger hall, such intensity might seem like an effort to engage those in the highest reaches of the balcony, but in the intimate Basile Theatre at the Indiana History Center, it felt passionately honest.
Grace Fong and Radiushina had the strength and technique for the virtuosic pages of Liszt’s depiction of the three circles of the underworld, and the pianists captured the fury of the frightening vision of Satan and his minions against a red-lit stage. The sensitivity and tonal coloration of their playing in the softer moments wonderfully completed the choreography…The tight collaboration and nimble playing of Radiushina and Fong finely traced Grieg’s quirky additions to Mozart’s original. ~Lawrence Budmen
Acclaimed pianist Grace Fong, Ph.D., treated a Memorial Hall audience to an artistic journey Monday night, delivering a multimedia presentation that was part performance, part instruction and completely fascinating. She certainly connected with her audience Monday, holding a rapt crowd as the presenter of Chapman University’s third annual Lectio Magistralis, a premier event hosted by the Office of the Chancellor that showcases the work of accomplished faculty.
Indianapolis: NUVO Newsweekly
I can't imagine more satisfaction at the opening of Indy's classical-music season then hearing Grace Fong guesting with any series. A year ago, this 2009 American Pianists Association Fellow shared her near matchless talents as a recital soloist at Butler University. This time she appeared with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra in the IHC'sBasile Theater, playing the Schumann A Minor Piano Concerto. In both, her seemingly effortless touch in coaxing all the music inherent in her selections made two especially memorable evenings for this listener. Moreover, Robert Schumann was at the height of his musical inspiration with this concerto. Fong seems to evoke near perfection in revealing every note through a controlled legato, gliding over the most difficult passages as though child's play…
Dortmund, Germany: Newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten (translation)
"Although the Mozart Society is known for their fine feeling in selecting performers, by far biggest surprise of the concert was the soloist, the young Grace Fong. With crystal clear sound the American with Taiwanese roots played the Jeunhomme concert. Her brilliance impressed as well as her touch and her sound fantasy. She also left a big impression with her virtuoso technique in a "Moment Musical" of Rachmaninow..."
Powerful accounts of concertos by Bela Bartok and Samuel Barber indicated that cliches about female reserve and mannerliness must be discarded. Grace Fong took the music's robustness fully in stride. . . the strength and stamina demanded sometimes had to be dialed back at a moment's notice for some of both composers' most delicate writing. The soloist met such challenges with panache; Fong's sensitivity to complementary orchestral colors was especially fine.
"Outstanding" is an adjective to be used sparingly, but one that fits the [Selvaggi Trio]. Their technical brilliance, infectious energy and sheer enjoyment of making music together enable them to communicate with startling clarity to the audience. It is remarkable how seamlessly they meld as a trio, considering that they are busy professional musicians based in different cities in the USA... not a note was out of place... Mendelssohn's second piano trio is a romantic tour-de-force in classical form. With its cascade of notes, the work poses as a formidable challenge to the pianist, which Grace Fong met deftly, her fingers flying up and down the keyboard with deceptive ease. It was a privilege to hear a concert of this quality... It lifts the spirit. It makes you realize how much music like this matters...
Seattle: The Gathering Note
outstanding performance...Iwasaki and Fong had the energy, the syncopation, the vitalit of the Samba, the smooth, soulful sexiness of the Tango and the nostalgic schmaltz of Tin Pan Alley...Fong was more than equal to all the technical hurdles in this program, playing without stress or banging on the keys, and with clear articulation in the Mozart.
The belle of the compositional ball was Frank Felice's "awakenings (winter)." Coming up with distinctive, faithful performances of brand-new music in quarter-hour mini-recitals can't be easy. Grace Fong was best at conveying the "awakenings" of the title as the piece's essential metaphor. Discovery Week opened at midday with Fong's concert in the Chamber Music Series. As responsive partner with the Parker String Quartet, she was a keen judge of Christ Church Cathedral's resonant acoustics: In the finale's climax, with the quartet roaring out the theme, she didn't allow the busy keyboard figuration to overpower the strings. Her playing embodied both vulnerability and fitful bravado.
Indianapolis: NUVO Newsweekly
"Five Stars...pianist with unbelievable psycho-motor coordination...mesmerized the crowd in both her mistake-free solo recital and her second-half appearance with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra...Fong amazed with her absolute control of the sonata's flashy and 'thoughtful' parts...her dynamic shaping and phrasing made all three composers as musically expressive as one could imagine. Then Fong returned to the keyboard [and] offered a perfect symbiosis of legato, articulation and dynamics to recreate this great early Mozartean masterwork...Absolutely astounding-and now I've run out of praiseworthy adjectives..."
[on a different program]
"Fong moves her fingers over any kind of pianistic passage any composer can conjure up with seemingly absolute effortlessness, while shaping and phrasing any kind of structure with perfection and ultimate musicality. She is above being a mere virtuoso--she occupies a lofty stratosphere of her own making."
Indiana: Chronicle Tribune
One would think that a musician of this caliber would consider herself to be pretty important or at the very least be very proud of her accomplishments. However, to meet Dr. Fong you might be surprised. Diligent, reserved and unassuming is what you find upon encountering the petite Californian pianist. She is honest, soft spoken and is an all around great person...Dr. Fong is truly the embodiment of grace.
Nevada City: The Union
Pianist Grace Fong wows at season opener...Fong's thoughtful interpretation [of Chopin] melded a sense of improvisation with warmth.
... Full of Mozartean humor, it showed off Fong's own wit and sensitivity, as well as impressive fingerwork
...The sonata, rhythmically complex and technically dazzling, was stunningly carried off by Fong, by turns passionate, animated and introspective, with enough driving power to exhaust the audience, never mind the performer.
A critic recently described Fong as “absolutely outstanding – and now I've run out of praiseworthy adjectives.” Enough said. Don't you wish you had been there?
After a standing ovation with boisterous BRAVOS she played an encore so elegant I wept...She is modest, personable, and a true virtuoso not to be missed.
Dallas Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Her skills with romantic repertoire well-established at this point, Fong moved [to Handels Suite No. 3], presenting fine insights into the baroque, including a delightful light touch on the pedal, an occasional deliberate imitation of the light-volumed clavichord and frequent evocation of the lyrical arias of the same composers beloved oratorio Messiah. . . [she] has the fingers and the imagination to present every phrase compellingly.
Leeds International Piano Competition Blog
Fong produced the most gorgeous and exquisite tone Fongs velvet touch lent sensitivity and elegance, without imposing herself on the orchestra. The Elvira Madigan slow movement was, in particular, meltingly beautiful. This is ultimately chamber music which charms and delights at every turn. Her cadenzas were tastefully delivered and every phrase crisply articulated
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Her Debussy was positively magical, with an icy fragility and ethereal tonal haziness.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Rachmaninoff tinged with regret and longing found Grace Fong a most generous guide. In seven of the Russian composer's pieces, Fong moved luminously from whispered intimacy to emotional grandeur. She also was remarkable in Debussy's "Images," Book II, in which harp-like harmonics, gentle brushstrokes and diaphanous textures seemed to float from the instrument. Fong's 20th-century entry was British composer Kenneth Leighton's Six Studies for Piano, Op. 56, full of anguish, jazzy swagger and dizzying digital demands. The collection's vast range of dynamics and angry energy were treated with fervent and genial command.
Forth Worth Star Telegram
In Fongs capable and imaginative hands, however, miniatures by Rachmaninoff, Handel and 20th-century British composer Kenneth Leighton displayed parallel examples of romantic, baroque and modern music, while showing Fongs ability to create a unified structure in each set. A Handel Suite in D minor was particularly impressive. There, in the manner of her teacher, Sergei Babayan, she indulged in modern emotions and colors, but preserved the most important aspects of baroque music: its energy and clarity.
Of Bartok 2nd Piano Concerto from pianist Enrique Graf: She was just amazing, really. . . The Bartok is a very hard piece that is not played very much. . . She knows that piece and she captured the essence of that piece. . . the Bartok was impeccable.
New Hampshire Music Festival
"She was just amazing...impeccable..."
Santa Barbara News Press
Of Liszt Sonata in b minor: . . .Despite all the fire and brimstone, Ms. Fong never overlooked or rushed the pockets of lyricism. . . the audience exploded with applause at its close.