We actually did Laugh Out Loud! It’s such a pithy phrase. But that’s what happens when we’re chatting via email with Yi-Jia Susanne Hou.
.”Okay, I know you’re the musician and I’m the writer, so you want to express in music, and leave the writing to me . . . “
Corresponding with Susanne currently is like toasting marshmallows in a house that’s on fire: get at it where you can, because you can’t tell how long you’ll have. She’s got all of the media forms on the go almost simultaneously this fall, and therefore we asked to print her information email within this article to get at the heart of things, but even a movie soundtrack, documentary dvd, live performances, educational presentation and a book collaboration doesn’t make her comfortable about writing her own press:
“Can’t publish my email!!! No no no. Awful at writing. Cant evin splel. no greammer proepr.”
ALL-right! She’s exaggerating for humour, as usual, but it just feels a little cheap as a writer to simply rework information and not give credit where it’s due. Being, ironically, in China while our favourite fiddler is performing China’s most popular concerto in Calgary, only heightens the need to provide lots of information in a short period of text. So, here goes:
As an overview, Susanne had a visit to Mount Royal University, which was a first ever Concert + Special Presentation, in which she shared not only a musical program, but also “how to build and sustain a fulfilling career in the arts.” The presentation essentially summed up all the projects she’s currently focused on, and “I’ll perform pieces that directly represent components of their career that is outside the practice room,” she told us beforehand.
Additionally, she gave a masterclass for things “inside” the practice room:
- A sneak preview of her Documentary with the London Symphony Orchestra called “Love Strings”, and a Live Performance of a Beethoven Violin Concerto which “represents the core of my artistic essence”;
- She revisited the Butterfly Lovers Concerto with our CPO Nov. 6, preparatory to a future recording with the Royal Philharmonic in London (2016). Subsequently, just to show off, she’ll have a 3-4 week tour of China/Canada in 2017, culminating in a live open-air concert in Beijing “for 20,000+ people that will be streamed live to 190 countries – representing cultural relevance and history, together with technology today.” (See? Showing off!);
- HERE’S a new one: Musical Wine. “200 percent – Virtuoso Wine”. This is a new collaboration between Ms. Hou and Hillside Winery’s Kathy Malone, to create “a scientifically-based brilliant new concept of multi-sensory indulgence, unveiled at the Nov.6 CPO!!!” (those are HER exclamation marks) If you like wine and classical music, this is worth a taste, literally;
- Book release: At MRU Susanne will also discuss collaborating with bestselling author Tess Gerritsen on the theme song “Incendio” for her new book, “Playing With Fire”. The book was released Oct.27 here (Penguin Random House). “Incendio” was composed by Tess herself, and Susanne wrote the cadenzas and variations, and then recorded it with fellow Canadian pianist Peter Longworth. There was a sneak preview performance of the music Oct.26 at MRU, “representative of new collaborations and artistic inspiration” (insert more of Ms. Hou’s exclamation points here);
- Film collaboration with Atom Egoyan and Michael Danna for 2015’s “Remember”, and ‘future’ projects;
- MRU will also hear a bit about physical training (yoga, pilates, circuit, cardio, etc.) and ‘eating on the road’.
And there’s other stuff, but we’ll stop there. Susanne is disarmingly present in our conversations, which is one of her strengths, resulting in a consistently expressed desire to “surround (young artists) with the support and mentors that they need to grow and stay authentic to themselves, and give the the insights, experience, and tools to not only survive – but thrive – in today’s music/art world. :)”
And play a little violin.