A few years ago at an event hosted at the ICC by BBC presenters which gave awards to innovative companies and individuals in the West Midlands, I saw and heard Di Xiao playing piano for the first time. I was blown away by this young, petite, pretty Chinese girl, in a red and black evening gown; whose renditions of Chopin and Schumann were astonishingly graceful and powerful. That was when she was graduating from Birmingham Conservatoire and before the release of her two solo albums.
When I saw her again at the end of 2011, still young, pretty and petite, she has successfully toured and performed in many prestigious concert halls across Europe and beyond.
Di Xiao, so happy to have you here with me on the first day of the Year of the mighty Chinese Dragon, and a very warm welcome on a chilly winter day! Can you please tell us something unique about yourself?
I am a very energetic & adaptable person. I love challenges and I am willing to give everything a shot, I love traveling, good foods, stimulate conversations and interesting people. You only live once so make the most of it!
That is precisely my motto ! Who, living or dead, do you most admire?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The one and only genius Mozart. I love his music too!
Can you please share with us what inspired you to become a musician?
I was a rebel and very lazy in my teens, while growing up in Southern China, the conservatory I was studying at invited a Ukrainian professor to give a concert in our school, the Rachmaninov and other pieces he played that evening hit me straight in my heart, his playing and teaching opening a brand new world to me. Since then, I fell in love with music and work very hard and tried to get to where I want to be. I feel really lucky that I had many wonderful mentors and supporters along my way, I can’t thank them enough! I could never have walked this far without their encouragement and kind help.
Very true, Di. Without those great giving mentors and devoted support from friends and fans, artists, of whatever description, would struggle to succeed and thrive.
What do you do when you’re not practicing/playing? What’s your favourite pastime?
I enjoy reading, cooking, going to museums and galleries, meeting people from different parts of the world. I love travelling and I like to try new things: in the past, I tried horse riding, flying lessons, hand gliding and indoor sky diving. I enjoy adventures and maybe because it’s quite similar to live performances- you can feel your heart race and the combination of fear and excitement make your adrenaline goes so fast, you wish it will be over soon but when it finishes you want to do it all again!
Bravo, I admire your dare-devil and adventurous spirit, Di.
Do you use Social Media for promoting your work and communicating with other artists or your clients?
I don’t think I am naturally a high tech person but nowadays you have to be in touch with the world, so yes, I use Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and You tube.
If you could go anywhere in the world to do what you’re doing, where would it be?
I have travelled quite a lot and played in many beautiful venues. I want to bring my piano to some remote places, to people who don’t have much opportunity to listen to classical music. Places like deep in the mountain of South West China, villages in Tibet, care homes in Europe, on safari in the South Africa, or even in prison.
What an exciting prospect that is! I hope that this dream of yours will come true!
Do you enjoy reading? Who is your favourite author, or which book is your favourite book of all time?
Yes, I love reading since I was a child, I always have a book or two nearby, and now I am pleased I can read in different languages! I enjoy reading Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Guy de Maupassant, Franz Kafka & Li Bai’s poetry.
How wonderful. I love those authors you cited above, in a slightly different order, of course
Described as “a pianist of awesome gifts” by the critics; Chinese classical pianist Di Xiao concluded a major international recital tour in 2009 as the UK’s representative to the universally acclaimed ‘Rising Stars’ series. The tour included sell out concerts at some of the world’s most prestigious halls including the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vienna Konzerthaus, Salzburg Mozartium, Stockholm Konserthaus and Luxembourg Philharmonie. Following her Köln Philharmoie recital, the press stated that “Di Xiao presents a demanding programme that takes your breath away.”
Now go and treat yourself with Di Xiao’s music on her website: www.dixiao.co.uk. Her New Album is available on Amazon. You can click above or visit her YouTube Channel. You can also follow her on twitter.
As people from different parts of the world welcome the Year of Dragon, I join Di Xiao to wish you all a very happy Spring Festival!