Chow performs at opening of MSIPC

Alan Chow

Alan Chow

In 1987, Alan Chow won the first Missouri Southern International Piano Competition. Now, more than a decade later, Chow has returned to open the competition.

Chow will play at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Taylor Auditorium. Chow said it is an honor to return to the competition.

“I think it’s really terrific to come back and see how everything has changed,” Chow said. “It was a wonderful event when I did it the first time around.”

Chow thinks the competition has increased since 1987.

“The level of playing has gotten so much better, and everything about it seems bigger,” he said.

In 1987, Chow was the Artist-in-Residence at the University of Arkansas when he came to Southern to compete. After his win at MSIPC, he went on to other national and international competitions, winning many first place prizes. Some of the competitions included the Concert Artists Guild International New York Competition and the UCLA International New York Competition. While teaching at UA, Chow got the notion to become a concert pianist.

“I had left graduate school, and I was teaching at the University of Arkansas, sort of down the road from here,” he said. “That sort of gave me the idea and, maybe, the impetuous for thinking that I could succeed as a performer as well as a teacher.”

Chow said the win was a “stepping stone” for him. Besides winning other competitions after MSIPC, Chow has performed with orchestras throughout the United States and Hong Kong. He has gone on numerous tours of Asia, performing recitals, concerto appearances and master classes in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

Chow is currently teaching piano at Northwestern University. He has collaborated with the American, Miami and Pacifica String Quartets and is a member of the Cheng-Chow Trio with pianists Angela Cheng, Chow’s sister-in-law, and Alvin Chow, Chow’s brother.

Chow said he is not sure why he was chosen to open the competition, but he thinks it has something to do with a trip he took with one of the judges for the competition.

“One of the members of the jury, Anne Koscielny, she and I had been on a trip to China a couple of years ago playing and giving classes,” he said. “We got to be good friends, and I understand she had a hand in recommending me, and it just worked out that I had won the competition.”

The concert will feature music from Haydn, Rachmaninov, Chopin and Tan Dun, composer of the film score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for seniors. Students are admitted free.