Thomas Yu is looking forward to putting his “best fingers forward” at his upcoming concert in Invermere. Mr. Yu, a periodontist (gum doctor) by day and an internationally-acclaimed amateur pianist by night, uses his hands to make his clients and his audiences feel better.
Mr. Yu has won a variety of international awards and was a guest soloist at Carnegie Hall in New York, at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, at Hakuju Hall in Tokyo and at other national and international venues.
Even so, Mr. Yu considers himself an amateur because he doesn’t play piano full time. Despite the accolades he receives, he strives to be humble.
In his younger days, Mr. Yu, who began playing piano when he was four, used to revel in “the show and glam.”
But now he said he is happiest and performs best when he lets go of his ego, disappears into the music and becomes “a radio transmitter” for the music.
“It’s exactly like meditation,” he said. “It fulfills me… It lets me reach into the depths of my own soul.”
He’s heard that his peacefulness comes across in his performances.
“People tell me that I look like I’m in meditation when I’m playing,” he said.
And he relishes pulling his audiences into the music along with him to “capture everybody on one wavelength at the same time.”
Learning to be so connected to the music that it almost plays him “has been a life process,” he said.
“When I’m sitting at the piano looking at the keys, it feels like home,” he said.
And sometimes it’s a little too much like home. When Mr. Yu gets home from doctoring gums and sits down to practice, his 15-month-old son, Alex, often scoots over to his dad’s feet to enjoy his private concert.
“It’s tough to practice when he goes under the piano,” Mr. Yu said.
Alex is already having “fun little lessons,” Mr. Yu said. While Alex likes playing piano at the moment, Mr. Yu expects that his attitude may change.
“He will either love it or hate it,” he said.
Since Alex was born, Mr. Yu has been cutting back on his international performances and focusing on shows closer to his home in Calgary.
Mr. Yu’s Spring Classics concert will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 20th at Christ Church Trinity. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Guests will not be allowed under the piano for the show.
Tickets are available at columbiavalleyarts.com or by calling Pynelogs Art Gallery and Cultural Centre at 250-342-4423.