Joel Fan’s discography illustrates Fan’s highly creative musical persona. Following his work on Leon Kirchner: Revelations – critic Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times proclaimed Fan as an “impressive pianist.” Of Fan’s recital disc, West of the Sun, the Toronto Star stated, “Fan offers nine stunningly brilliant renditions drawn from a wide range of styles and sources… Capping it all off is an arresting interpretation of Samuel Barber’s fearsome 1949 Piano Sonata. Wow.” Fan’s solo CD World Keys contains five world premiere recording tracks – creating a “deeper, more rewarding experience” (Minnesota Public Radio) – and reaching #3 on Billboard’s Classical Chart.
As a concerto soloist, Fan has performed over 40 different concertos with orchestras worldwide, including the New York Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Odessa Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, the Boston Pops, and London Sinfonietta, with conductors such as David Zinman, Zubin Mehta, Alan Gilbert, Keith Lockhart, and David Robertson. According to the Boston Music-Intelligencer: “We’ve heard many of the great pianists… Fan belongs in the company of the best.”
As a recitalist, Joel Fan has found an enthusiastic following on numerous stages ranging from the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Jordan Hall in Boston, Calgary Celebrity Series, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Internationally, Fan has performed recitals on four continents – most recently in tours of China, Cuba and South America. Along with his innovative programming, Fan delivers Mozart with “eloquence and sensitivity” (Boston Globe), and brings “a steely power and feather-light touch to Prokofiev…and redblooded Romantic gestures in Kirchner’s sonata” (New York Times). “He deserves special praise for the spontaneity, wit, and emotional urgency he drew from the music” of Bolcom and Carter (Washington Post).
As a “champion of new music” (Boston Globe), Joel Fan is also recognized for his work with cellist Yo-Yo Ma as a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, appearing at Carnegie Hall and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., and on the television programs Good Morning America and Late Night with David Letterman. Fan has also collaborated with numerous leading ensembles, including the Shanghai Quartet, Orion Quartet, Imani Winds, and A Far Cry chamber orchestra.
Joel Fan’s latest album, Dances for Piano and Orchestra (Reference Recordings), presents another turn in Fan’s original approach to repertoire. The disc is a wide-ranging journey focusing on the intersection of music and dance, with rarely heard compositions by Chopin, Saint-Saëns, Pierné, Weber-Liszt, Castro, Gottschalk, and culminating in a world premiere recording of Charles Cadman’s Dark Dancers of the Mardi Gras. The disc was released in October 2014 in conjunction with the Northwest Sinfonietta chamber orchestra and music director Christophe Chagnard.
Joel Fan was born in New York City to Taiwanese parents, began early musical studies at the Juilliard School, earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, and a Master of Music degree in piano performance from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center and the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival. Fan is a prize winner of several international competitions, including the Busoni International Piano Competition in Italy. He was also the winner of the Kosciuzko Foundation’s Chopin Prize, and named a Presidential Scholar by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Fan studied with the composer Leon Kirchner and the pianist Leon Fleisher.
Joel Fan has recorded for Reference Recordings, Sony Classical, Verdant World Records, and Albany Records. He is a Steinway Artist.