Felix Hong — Prix d’Europe, piano
by Olivier Gentil
Having won the Grand Prize of the prestigious Concours Prix d’Europe 2017, a competition organized by the Académie de musique du Québec for over a century, Felix Hong has emerged as one of Canada’s most promising young pianists. “To me, the Prix d’Europe is a highlight of how much progress I’ve been able to make during my past five years of study with my professor Ilya Poletaev. I feel extremely honoured to receive the Grand Prize! The competition also gives me much more motivation and confidence to apply for other international piano competitions in the future.” The Prix d’Europe also gave him his first chance to perform at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur and Bourgie Hall in Montreal’s Musée des beaux-arts.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Felix Hong came to Canada in 2012 to pursue post-secondary studies in music with Ilya Poletaev at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. He completed his Bachelor of Music in 2016 as well as an Artist Diploma the following year. Felix was soon the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards. In 2017, with the support of a Career Development Grant awarded by Jeunesses Musicales du Canada, he successfully completed his graduate auditions. This coming fall, he will start his Master’s Degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London under the supervision of Ronan O’Hora and Joan Havill.
During his years of study, Felix appeared on stage for various competitions. Since last year, his accomplishments have included being awarded first prize in the Canadian Music Competition, qualifying as a finalist in the Stepping Stone Competition 2016, and qualifying as a finalist in the Sigma Alpha Iota Competition of the Chautauqua Music Festival. Felix Hong was also named as one of the CBC’s 30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30, in its 2017 edition. Over the years, he has also had the privilege of performing in masterclasses with renowned pianists that have included Jerome Lowenthal, Boris Berman, John Perry, Janina Fialkowska, and many others in an array of summer music programs. He has been a featured soloist with the Voice of Spring Symphony Orchestra and the Guelph Symphony Orchestra.
Felix’s upcoming concerts include a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Orchestre Symphonique des Jeunes de Montréal, a solo recital at the Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montreal, and a solo recital and concerto engagement in Taipei (TBD).
When asked what his most important advice would be to a young person with ambitions for a career in classical music, he said, “Always be aware of what you are doing while practising. One can only be very focused for a few hours a day, so it’s important to practise wisely. Aside from that, there is actually much more we can learn from and get inspired by while outside the practice rooms. In my own experience, I actually gain lots of improvement from studying scores and listening to different colleagues’ playing.”