Piano Inspires Podcast: Angelin Chang

To celebrate the latest episode of Piano Inspires Podcast featuring Angelin Chang we are sharing an excerpted transcript of his conversation with Andrea McAlister. Want to learn more about Chang? Check out the latest installment of the Piano Inspires Podcast. To learn more, visit pianoinspires.com. Listen to our latest episode with Chang on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or our website!

A post-concert photo from NCKP 2023: The Piano Conference featuring (from left to right): Tony Caramia, Kairy Koshoeva, Andrew Cooperstock, Nicholas Phillips, Susanna Garcia, William Chapman Nyaho, Artina McCain, Jeremy Siskind, and Angelin Chang.

Andrea McAlister: I know we’ve talked a lot about music in the world and how we can make a change. I want to look forward now. We’re at this time where there is a lot of division and there is a lot of disagreement, and there’s a lot of tension in many places. Fortunately, we’re experiencing the opposite of that this week in this environment that we’re currently in, as we are all surrounded by pianists and teachers. We’re feeling it. How do we carry this out into the world? What does it look like? Let’s say, you know, if we fast forward ten years and say, “How has music transformed the world? How can we take this message out and really make a difference?” I know, we might think that—well just in my small little community, I can do a little bit. How does that change the world?

Angelin Chang: Planting the seeds does change the world. For me, I think the message is also understanding that the arts—music—is for everyone. I mean, a lot of times we’re talking about classical music—highbrow music—but, where did it originate? It wasn’t highbrow, we made it highbrow, so to speak. Nothing wrong with highbrow or lowbrow, or medium brow. You know? It’s for everyone. That’s one of the things I learned at the GRAMMYs too, because when I was nominated, I felt like, “I’m going to be a fish out of water here being a classical musician,” because all I knew was what I saw on primetime TV. But even then, going there, it was a community. Mutual respect all around for all genres. It wasn’t, “Oh, because you’re not pop you’re not hip.” It wasn’t that at all. It’s just that, you know, primetime TV, there’s just a small segment of what they could, you know, make money off of. Anyway, right, nothing wrong with that. Because those type of things would help fund things that were, you know, may need some more support? Did you know that the GRAMMYs is actually the largest fundraiser for all their activities, including a lot of great programs that help musicians in need, for example?

AM: That’s fabulous.

AC: Yeah, and we don’t see that, and not until I won, did I even know about some of these programs that were behind the scenes, like—oh, my gosh, there’s so much more. Just like there’s so much more here in our conference. Each individual brings so much, but, you know, the organizational part—to institute what we value in that sense that helps the next generation. Now with all the division and all that, I think partly it’s because there’s not this type of communication and understanding. So there’s the tendency for us to just be in our group that we feel safe and secure, and everything else out there is like, “No, no, don’t touch that.” Whereas I feel it’s the opposite that needs to happen. For example, when I went to Nepal and it’s like, “Okay, I’m very comfortable again now in this wonderful palace of a hotel and everything like this.” Yeah, it’s going beyond and actually noticing those things. And to be, “Hey, these are these are humans these are we can interact. We have something to benefit each other that can help make things better.” Or an understanding—it’s not that you have to agree with the other stuff, but at least understand or at least communicate. You can agree to disagree and still understand and have that common goal of making something for the better. Now, we can decide like, “Okay, we’ll try your way this time, try our way that time and see. Okay, then be objective.” I know it’s very difficult because a lot of times people don’t want to see that. I think part of it is taking off those blinders and just being open.

Even if you disagree with something like—how many times have you gone to a concert and it’s like, “Oh, I wouldn’t do it that way, I wouldn’t do that.” But you can’t deny that whatever they gave was like, “Wow, they worked on that. They made it special. They made it their own.” That’s what makes the world turn—embracing our uniqueness in that sense. And it’s great that we’re all different, but we’re all the same at the same time. Understanding that at the core, there’s certain things that we all want and that we all need. That feeling of security. There are a lot of people here where we’re changing the status quo feel very insecure. It’s not that necessarily I think that they’re feeling that, you know, they’re in the right, we’re in the wrong or just, they’re just wanting to hold power. Folks might lash out because they feel insecure, not because they feel powerful. I think it’s very important to understand some of the signs that we might interpret, aren’t necessarily what’s really going on. See what we can all do, to have that mutual understanding for world peace and human harmony.

AM: Just a small little thing we as musicians can, yeah—. I say it kind of facetiously but seriously, that music can do that as you are proving that day in and day out. We really thank you for all the work you have done and are doing to create that place that we all hope we can get to someday, but we’re also in it now. We’re also seeing how it’s happening.

AC: It’s happening.

AM: Music is that connector and it’s just beautiful.

If you enjoyed this excerpt from Piano Inspires Podcast’s latest episode, listen to the entire episode with Angelin Chang on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or our website!


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