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  • Writer's pictureFrederic Chiu

ISMTA - Young Geniuses

Updated: Feb 7




Young Geniuses stirred up quite a discussion at the Illinois State Music Teachers Association annual conference! The intensity of playing for music teachers is inspiring and intimidating at the same time. I was particularly excited to present this specific Smackdown, focusing on the incredible talent and genius of a couple of teenage composers.

Maybe it was because it was almost entirely piano teachers. Whatever the reason, this was the first time Mendelssohn won the overall vote. Chopin won in Round 2, among non-pianists and just a slight advantage with women. But Mendelssohn won the largest margin yet, in Round 3 (86%!) and a high percentage with Males.



Comments about the Classical Smackdown Experience

Brilliant concept. Great way to educate and engage your audience. Love this!!!

Enjoyed it. Very original approach

Great concert. Good to hear ages of composers and caliber of understanding of the art. Thank you for a great concert

Great. Fun to compare. Both are so fantastic, it was hard to vote who was best. Thank you. A different concert

I loved your unique presentation recital. Thank you

I really enjoyed the experience and was surprised by my choices

The microphone was not being held in the correct position so it did not help. I could not hear a word that was said. As a person with hearing loss, a properly functioning microphone is vital. Fantastic playing however. Incredible

Very hard to make a choice. All were very brilliant. Loved it

Wonderful performance. Great idea of program.


Comments about the Young Geniuses program

Amazing concert!!! I was surprised. I thought I would select Chopin for each round.

Chopin Mazurka was sublime. From the distant and eerie opening left hand chords to the passionate dance in the middle, I love how effortlessly you changed character, even though the melody reighed supreme, I was won over most by the shifting colors of the inner voices. I must learn this piece soon. Thank you for all the music you shared tonight.

I loved the variety of textures in the pieces I chose. Brilliant idea to do this!

I was sure I would vote for Chopin. Thanks for food for thought.

I would love to hear you do this on mature Chopin/Mendelssohn

It's interesting form. I could directly compare the musical difference between Chopin and Mendelssohn. I was attracted by Mendelssohn's bright music. To be honest, It's hard for me to choose!

Magnificant performance. What can I say? FM just more musical. FC so technically genius. 

Musically Chopin overall seems more talented

My choices are based on memorable melodies

My vote on these pieces I feel guilty voting one composer over another since both were such masters at what they did and how they appraoched composition. I have even more love and appreciation for both M and C after this concert. Thank you so much.

Round 2 Chopin selection each gave me delicious shivers. Round 3 Mendelssohn is the whole package


Comments about Frederic Chiu

Brilliant concept! Imaginative playing! Bravo, I'm so glad to have heard you

Fine performance. Astounding. Wonderful. Fascinating way to present the young Chopin and Mendelssohn. Music development comes in cycles, even with these geniuses. Is it actually a real and fair comparison

I love your lots of different musical ideas. Beautiful color and shape. Bravo

Interesting colorations and clarity through use of pedals and of course, your fantastic technique

Such an incredible night. Thank you for the comparison and the beautiful performance

Thank you for a marvelous recital

What a wonderful and inventive way to perform for piano teachers. Your amazing performance is inspiring and humbling


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