BMP Teaching Artist Spotlight | Xiaopei Xu
At the Boston Music Project, we are proud to have an exceptional team with a diverse background of teaching and performance experiences. When our Teaching Artists are not teaching music lessons, they are pursuing their own professional careers as active performers, composers, music producers, dancers, and more!
This year we are excited to welcome Xiaopei Xu, Piano Teaching Artist, to the BMP Team!
Hailed by the Boston Music Intelligencer as “a spellbinding and expressive pianist”, Xiaopei Xu has been featured as a soloist on three continents, striving for creativity in her artistic expression. She made her Boston Symphony Hall debut in 2018, performing Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 in E Minor with Maestro Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops.
Xu has received international acclaim with top prizes at the New York International Piano Competition, Oberlin International Piano Competition, Tureck International Bach Competition, Richmond Piano Competition and the Washington D.C. International Young Artist Competition. She has also performed at major festivals including Pianofest in the Hamptons, PianoTexas, Banff Music Centre, Sarasota Music Festival, Russia Young Artist Festival, and the Walnut Hill Music Festival where she later served as a teaching assistant in 2015 and 2016. Xu has been invited regularly to give masterclasses and lectures in Nanjing and several other cities in China.
In addition to her musical endeavors, Xu integrates her love for visual arts with music, creating multidisciplinary collaborations as a way to enhance the artistic experience. A painter herself, she has been commissioned for several installations and collaborative projects. Xu created a combined art and concert experience at the Germany Society of Pennsylvania, as well as an exhibition of her artwork in “The Seven Deadly Sins,” an interdisciplinary concert at the New England Conservatory. Collections of her drawings have been published by the Clara Haskil Competition’s Jeune Critique.
We asked Xiaopei to share a bit more about her musical background and her life in and around music.
Who were some of your musical inspirations growing up?
"I was born in a musical family. My father is a piano teacher and his students would come to our home. I was always listening and was fascinated with the sound. That was the beginning of my musical journey. There are many composers and musicians I admire deeply: J.S.Bach, Franz Schubert, Alfred Cortot, András Schiff, Billy Holiday… the list goes on. I am also always inspired by the composers whose music I am playing at the moment."
What energizes or excites you most both as a teacher and as a performer?
"When performing, I enjoy the freedom of personal expression. Teaching helps me analyze my internal feelings on a different level. It feels magical when I resonate with my students on a musical passage or an idea."
Can you share a favorite moment/memory from your time as a teaching artist with BMP?
"When my 7 year old student’s dad told me that after our first lesson, she went to the piano first thing the next morning."
When did you begin painting? Who are some of your inspirations in the visual arts? Is there a particular artist or piece by them that resonates strongly with you?
"I loved doing sketches growing up. In the recent years, I have been creating more digital arts on my iPad. There are many parallels between music and visual art, like textures, tonalities, styles, structures, and colors. One art form intertwines with the other. It is fascinating to explore relationships between artists and composers: Monet and Debussy; Michelangelo and Liszt; Kandinsky and Schoenberg, just to name a few. If an image or an abstract feeling/color comes to me when I work on a piece or listen to a song, I materialize it into a form of visual art."
Two pieces of artwork made by Xiaopei.
What’s the next multidisciplinary project that you are working on or want to begin working on?
"I just finished a multidisciplinary performance in LA last week, in memory of the 1871 Los Angeles Chinatown massacre. We combined music performance and storytelling on stage, not only to present our original music and improvisation, but also to deliver a clear message to the audience through our speakers. I look forward to doing more performances that will [have an] impact on social justice and our society."
To learn more about Xiaopei, we invite you to read her full biography on our Teaching Artists page.