Catherine Cheung | 张瑛瑶

Pianist | Composer

Catherine Cheung is a pianist, composer and teacher based in London

Switzerland (1): Cully Classique

Summer's almost nearing the end, but I have yet to write about my time at CULLY CLASSIQUE in Switzerland! So before my last year as a Master's student starts, I'd love to share my experience with you, along with plenty of photos. 

I was nominated to take part in the CULLY CLASSIQUE Festival as part of the Student Crossroads Project (aka Carrefour des Etudiants) which brings together a select number of students from top conservatoires in Europe (this year it was Vienna, Basel and London) who then collaborate together on a number of chamber performances and give a premiere of works written for the festival by student composers. 

Première of Giovanni Santini's In Change... What Remains

The Festival is a musical treat that takes place in June every year in Cully, a village on the shore of Lake Geneva with breathtaking views. Cully is part of the municipality Bourg-en-Lavaux which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of 830 hectares of terraced vineyards. The festival itself takes place across 10 days, with concerts happening throughout the day in various venues around the village. A stage is also set up by the lake for a more casual, relaxed atmosphere where people can drink wine and chat till late while enjoying live performances. Internationally-renowned artists are invited every year to perform, and this year was no exception with performances from Marc-André Hamelin and Nikolai Lugansky among many others. I had the great privilege of sitting in the front row at Hamelin's performance and it was awe-inspiring!

Below are photos from Cully which I'd love to share with you!

The premiere of the contemporary works was the most important part of the project. Having just met each other for the first time, we had an intensive four days of rehearsals before the performance. I had the pleasure of performing Giovanni Santini's work which was challenging, and used the piano in a number of clever ways, with extended techniques that included the use of playing magnets, harmonics, and bow hairs. The sounds that he created were very interesting and worked very well with the viola and clarinet. Aside from the usual playing position (sitting at the keys) I also had to play inside the piano and move to the tail of the instrument. Thank goodness I had the score on my iPad and had my AirTurn Pedal which really helped logistically. It  meant I didn't have to deal with sheet music and page-turning and had both hands free for playing! I really recommended getting the AirTurn Pedal

The concert was a great success, and the audience seemed to get what we were trying to achieve as composers and performers. I suppose that's all we can ask for really!

More posts to follow shortly about my trip to Switzerland! Stay tuned.  


Disclaimer: This blog post is in no way sponsored by AirTurn. I just really like their pedals.

© Catherine Cheung 2015