At the age of 20, Eric Lu was first-prize winner at the Leeds International Piano Competition. On his semi-final round, The Independent praised a reading of Chopin’s Second Sonata which “took one’s breath away with its measured grandeur”. Eric Lu opens Harrogate Music Festival on June 20th with a recital at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate. We met up with the 21 year old ahead of his performance…

What does it feel like to win the most acclaimed piano competition in the world (the 2018 Leeds Piano Competition)?

It was a dream come true for me. So many of the greatest pianists and musicians I most admire were among previous winners. It was my first time to play in England, and after 8 months, and many visits later, I can say now what a wonderful world this has opened up for me.
Do you ever get scared performing live – do you have any quirky ways of handling nerves or superstitions?

Most definitely! With this, I find that it can never go away. Of course, at different times and occasions, you handle it better than others. However, I find it very helpful to always remember the purpose of why you are performing this particular concert right in front of you. That is to deliver the most wonderful art form, and ultimately, some of the deepest human emotions ever expressed to the audience , at that particular moment. It is an enormous responsibility!

If there was one pianist you’d travel long and far to hear (dead or alive), who would it be?

I would have loved to hear Emil Gilels live. I can imagine it certainly would have been a transcendent experience.
And one person (could be anyone – a fellow musician, family, actor…) that you’d love to play for (dead or alive), who would it be?

It is impossible to pick one, however at this moment it would probably be Franz Schubert.
You must travel all over the world – what’s the best thing about travelling? 

Experiencing all the different cultures, seeing with your own eyes the unique beauty of different places, and eating all kinds of foods!
And the worst?

Probably long haul flying.
What do you hope audiences will leave with after experiencing your concert?

I hope that they will leave with a better understanding of these great composers that will be on the program than they came in with. Music is an intensely personal thing, so it can relate to each individual so uniquely. This is what makes it so wonderful and I hope to bring a glimpse of the world of these composers to the audience in Harrogate.

Eric Lu | Thursday 20 June | 7.30pm | Old Swan Hotel
Box office: 01423 562303
Book online here.