Born in Cebu, Philippines, pianist Albert Tiu has been labelled as "an artist of uncommon abilities" by American Record Guide. His latest recording on Centaur Records, "Nocturnal Fantasies", featuring the music of Chopin and Skryabin, has been garnering glowing reviews. In Gramophone, Bryce Morrison describes it as "performances where heart and mind unite in a deeply affecting union. Tiu is the sort of artist...who can make a single note or chord tell, yet always within an enviably natural, lucid and refined context." In American Record Guide, James Harrington writes that it is "one of the most inventive recital programs I have ever seen or heard". Jerry Dubins in Fanfare declares that "Centaur has produced, in my opinion, one of the all-time great piano recordings." His collaboration with Li-Wei Qin in the Beethoven Cello Sonatas on Decca was nominated for Best Classical Album in the 2010 Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Awards. They have also recorded a CD of Rachmaninov's Works for Cello and Piano, also on Decca. Other recordings include "Variations" on the Arktos Canada label, and "Salamisim" (Reminiscence) on Bookmark Audio Philippines, as well as the Barber Piano Concerto in a live concert with the Orford Festival Orchestra and Yuli Turovsky in Canada.
He has performed as soloist with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Hamburg Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, Gstaad Festival Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Baden-Baden Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Michigan Chamber Symphony, Johannesburg Philharmonic, Cape Town Philharmonic, Guangzhou Symphony, Philippine Philharmonic, Juilliard Symphony, and the Orchestra of the Music Makers. In 2005, he gave the Singapore premiere of Samuel Barber's Piano Concerto with the Singapore Symphony under Muhai Tang in the Esplanade Concert Hall. His 2006 Chopin/Skryabin solo recital earned him an accolade of "a true artist" in the Singapore Straits Times. With an eclectic repertoire ranging from Sweelinck to Stockhausen, he has performed in venues such as Orchestra Hall in Detroit, Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in New York, Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, Hamburg Musikhalle, and the Great Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg. His performances have been broadcast on WQXR New York, CBC Canada, SABC South Africa, BBC, ABC Australia, Radio YLE in Finland and Symphony 92.4 Singapore.
After studies with Nelly Castro in Cebu, with Nita Quinto in Manila, with John Winther in Hong Kong, and with Michael Lewin in Boston, he studied with Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, where he received the 1998 William Petschek Award, resulting in a debut recital in Lincoln Center's Tully Hall. In 1996, he won the First Prize and two special prizes in the UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa. He is also a laureate of competitions in Calgary (Honens), Santander (Paloma O'Shea), Helsinki (Maj Lind), Seoul (Han Romanson), and the Web Concert Hall online competition (www.webconcerthall.com).
He has collaborated in chamber music with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Ysaye Quartet, T'ang Quartet, Australian String Quartet, Muir String Quartet, violinists Pierre Amoyal, Cho-Liang Lin, Kam Ning, Qian Zhou and Robert McDuffie, violist Nobuko Imai, clarinetist Charles Neidich, and in duo-piano concerts with Thomas Hecht.
Now an Associate Professor of Piano at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, he also taught in the Juilliard Pre-College Division before moving to Singapore in 2003. Since then, his students have won prizes in international competitions, and have been awarded scholarships for graduate studies in major institutions. He also served as Vice-President of the Singapore Music Teachers' Association from 2005 to 2009.
Selected Press Quotes:
“Centaur has produced, in my opinion, one of the all-time great piano recordings… Urgently recommended.”
Fanfare (November/December 2011)
“Titled Nocturnal Fantasies, this is one of the most inventive recital programs I have ever seen or heard… Chopin and Scriabin work so well together that I’m surprised that I rarely see them combined on one disc – and never as well as this.
All would be for naught if Tiu didn’t supply world class performances. He has the heart and soul of a true romantic pianist, as well as an abundance of technical skills. He can float a delicate melody one moment and rise to an impressive and exciting climax the next… His writing, based on superb program notes, supports his program-building ability quite nicely. He is a pianist I would go out of my way to hear in concert, and I will look for his future recordings.”
American Record Guide (May/Jun 2011)
“He is sensitive and musicianly… and wittily alive… his subtlety and poetic commitment make you listen with new ears.”
Gramophone (September 2011)
“Above all his playing exudes a golden tone that sounds as if it was made for 19th century Russia. Add an uncanny sense of timing, supple fingers that seem to be everywhere at once, pedalling that constantly enriches, and penetrating understanding into what makes Russian romantics tick, and you have an authentic mix for spectacular success.”
The Advertiser, Adelaide, Australia (May 2011)
“From arguably the finest pianist resident in Singapore today came yet another thought-provoking piano recital… crafted his tribute to Frederic Chopin by performing some of the piano repertoire’s most daunting works inspired by the Polish master’s genius.
Overcoming the frightening multitudes of notes was a feat of digital dexterity and memory, but it was the fearless panache of delivery that remained topmost in the mind.”
The Straits Times, Singapore (March 2011)
"It is this humanity and sincerity of music making that separates a true artist from the many immaculate but faceless competition winners of today.”
The Straits Times, Singapore (Jan 2006)