Tickets and Information: 202-625-2361

Heegan Lee Shzen, piano- Embassy of Singapore- A FEW TICKETS REMAIN

Date(s) - 04/26/2018
6:45 pm - 9:30 pm

Embassy of Singapore




Heegan Lee Shzen is an extraordinarily talented Singaporean pianist. At only five years old, he was able to play back any song he hears by ear. Without any piano lessons or exposure to classical music, at the age of 14, Heegan heard Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 for the first time after watching a DVD. He immediately got onto the piano bench and started playing it. This was the start of Heegan’s path into the world of classical music.

These prodigious feats attest to Heegan’s outstanding innate skill and talent: He could play back difficult works by Chopin, the Revolutionary Etude Op. 10, No. 12 and the Prelude in B flat minor, Op. 28, No. 16, by ear. As his repertoire increased, he began to play more challenging pieces such as Liszt’s La Campanella, Chopin’s Scherzos and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos No. 2 and 3, just to name a few. Concurrently, Heegan’s ability to compose music with the styles and techniques of famous composers such as Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Lizst and Ravel also intrigue people around him. His passion for music is so immense that he listens very closely to the recordings of Vladimir Horowitz’s unpublished transcriptions (Bizet’s Carmen, Danse Excentrique, Philip Sousa’s Stars and Strips Forever, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2) and writes them down, despite them being most daunting and challenging to the ears since they are very old recordings.

In 2006, at age 15, Heegan’s rare abilities caught the attention of Dr. Min Kwon (Doctor of Music, The Juilliard School, Chair of Keyboard Department and Associate Professor of Piano, Rutgers University, New Jersey & Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of The Centre for Musical Excellence) who informed Mr. Martin Canin, a faculty of The Juilliard School of Heegan’s exceptional talent. Soon after, Heegan was invited for the live audition at The Juilliard School where only a handful is selected out of the thousands of applicants vying for this golden opportunity. During Heegan’s visit to New York, he was very privileged to attend private lessons with Dr. Min Kwon for three weeks at The Juilliard School. At the audition, Heegan’s musicality outshone and highly impressed upon the faculty. But because his talent was at a very raw state, having just started learning piano in comparison to everyone else who started learning at the age of 3 or 4, he was advised to study privately under a faculty member to be better prepared for the following year.

Although it was already past application deadlines in June 2006, Dr. Min Kwon recommended Heegan to Professor Phillip Kawin (Head of Piano, Council President of Manhattan School Of Music. Phillip Kawin was a protégé of the legendary Dora Zaslavsky-Zoch, a pupil of Harold Baur and Wilhelm Backhau. He also studied with John Perry). After watching a homemade video of Heegan playing the piano, Professor Kawin expressed his keen interest to work with him. That fall, Heegan was accepted into the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in New York City for precollege, the only student to have been offered a place without a live audition. He was the only student accepted by Professor Phillip Kawin that academic year.

In under 16 months, Heegan auditioned for the Bachelor of Music Degree program at Manhattan School of Music and was accepted being the youngest amongst the cream of the crop, a complete year ahead of his peers who were still in High School. In 2012, Heegan earned his Bachelor of Music degree. His outstanding performance abilities and academic achievements were recognized by Dr. Marc Silverman (Chair of Piano, Manhattan School of Music), and he was granted a singular honor, The President’s Award for the entire program of his studies. He is the only recipient to have attained this award without having to apply for it in the history of Manhattan School of Music. He was offered a coveted place for the Master of Music program at Manhattan School of Music where he graduated in 2014.

Heegan has participated in numerous intensive piano festivals such as the Piano Summer at New Paltz, Beijing International Music Festival & Academy in China, The International Academy of Music in St. Petersburg, Russia, ConcertoFest Festival in Austria, Vienna where he made his orchestral debut performing the Mozart Piano Concerto in D minor K. 466, and CME Piano Festival in New York. He has performed extensively as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. His vast knowledge of the classical repertoire, ability to learn a new piece quickly and to play them with artistry earned him the trust of many accomplished musicians such as composers to premier their works, and singers to be their accompanist amidst the overwhelming pool of pianists available. During his 8 years in New York, he was invited to attend major music festivals where he coached extensively with world’s distinguished performers and pedagogues such as Martin Canin, Min Kwon, Vladmir Feltsman, Robert Macdonald, Pavlina Dovoska, Jerome Lowenthal, André-Michel Schub, Dr. Marc Silverman, Daniel Epstein, Jeffrey Cohen, Robert Ward, Robert Hamilton, Susan Starr, Paul Ostrosky, and Alexander Korsantia.

Hailed by Mr. David Dubal (Faculty, The Juilliard School, author of highly acclaimed books that include The Art of Piano, Evenings with Horowitz, Conversations with Menuhin, reflections from the Keyboard etc. He also wrote and host The Golden Age of Piano, an Emmy Award winning documentary) as a major musical and pianistic talent, Heegan is also frequently invited by Mr. David Dubal to perform at his Evening Session at The Juilliard School – His performance have achieved acclaimed and he is a favourite. Heegan was also invited by Dr. Min Kwon (Artistic and Executive Director of The Centre for Musical Excellence), to perform at the famed Steinway Hall in New York. Heegan has been a CME (The Centre of Musical Excellence) Young Artist and alumni since 2009.

Heegan’s exceptional musical abilities have been noted by many. Not constrained only to piano performance, Heegan’s talent in music composition has also been endorsed by Grammy award composer, Dr. Robert Aldridge (Director of Music, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University) who suggested for Heegan to pursue a Doctoral of Music degree and Masters in Composition (even though Heegan has no qualification in composition) just after listening to three pieces of Heegan’s work.

Recently, Heegan was discovered to be a prodigious music savant. However, unlike most savants with IQs often below 70, Heegan is highly intelligent. He completed high school a year early and also achieved stellar results in his coursework both for his Undergraduate as well as Graduate degrees. He has displayed prolific composition abilities, skills in improvisation, and his musicality, which far exceeds those of most savants who often play multitudinous songs from memory in a mechanically stiff manner. According to Dr. Darold Treffert, M.D., the leading researcher of the savant syndrome for over 40 years, “Prodigious savants are exceedingly rare, with fewer than 100 noted in more than a century of literature on the subject.” Dr. Treffert estimates that fewer than 50 prodigious savants living worldwide at the present time who would meet this high threshold of special skill and about half of them are musical savants.  PROGRAM: RACHMANINOFF: Andante from Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 19 (arr. Arcadi Volodos); RACHMANINOFF Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14; CHOPIN Fantaisie-Impromptu in C-sharp Minor, Op. 66;  CHOPIN Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52;  and works by Heegan Lee Shzen– $80/Heavy hors-d’oeuvres/wine