Tucson pianist draws inspiration from martial arts, COVID for upcoming recital | Music

Some people have chosen hobbies during the pandemic.

Tucson Pianist Fanya Lin learned military style martial arts.

“Originally, because of Asian hate crimes, I learned about it in self-defense,” the Taiwanese-born man said. University of Arizona music teacher. “But I fell in love with it.”

Krav Maga is a system of self-defense developed in the mid-1930s by Jews facing anti-Semitic attacks in the former Czechoslovakia. The goal is to be able to defend against a variety of attacks with extreme efficiency based largely on muscle memory.

Lin, who arrived in Tucson from Minnesota in 2019, wanted to be prepared in case the Asian hate crimes that had spread across the country came too close to home.

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“I was in contact with friends in New York (…) and they told me that they did not want to take the subway”, says the 32-year-old player.

Krav Maga and the pandemic also inspired her “Masquerade” program which she will perform on Sunday August 14, when she debuts with the popular Bach Society of St. Andrew summer concert series.

The title is a throwback to the pandemic – wearing masks at the height of COVID-19 – and the celebration of coming out of it – a costume ball and dancing.

If that vision is lost on you, the music will surely transport you there, from little-known Curaçaoan composer Wim Statius Muller’s charming “Nostalgia Waltz” to Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” and the sometimes fiery and frantic “Danzas Argentinas” by Ginastera.

The centerpiece of the concert and the piece that really sums up “Masquerade” is Schumann’s “Carnival,” which is based on masked revelers at the pre-Lenten Carnival festival.

“I (programmed) all the dance-related repertoire,” said Lin, who gave a handful of public recitals and played keyboards with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra a few times during his three years here. .

Lin said she chose Stravinsky’s “The Firebird,” transcribed for solo piano by Guido Agosti, because it reminded her of her Krav Maga lessons and her instructor.

“She taught us not only to protect ourselves, but also to have confidence and perseverance,” Lin said, two dominant themes in “The Firebird.”

Originally composed as a ballet for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Paris, the piece is based on the Russian fairy tale of the firebird who helps a prince fight off evil spirits.

“The rhythm and the energy remind me of our practice,” Lin said. “Audiences will hear, especially in the overture, that repeated high note which is so shocking and so different from the normal lyrical and melodic piano repertoire.”

In September, Lin will perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with the Tucson Repertoire Orchestra at Crowder Hall. In January, she and her partner Lin-Linder Piano Duo, a piano teacher at UA Daniel Linder, will perform works for piano four hands and two pianos.

The Sunday performance will be at 2 p.m. at Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St.

Tickets are $25 for premium, $15 for general admission, and $10 for students via standrewsbach.org. For more information, call 520-808-2122.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at [email protected] On Twitter @Starburch