Currently a student in Year 12 at Eton, Harvey Lin has just participated in the category finals of the most prestigious of all UK-only competitions for musicians under the age of 18, the BBC Young Musician 2020.
This is not, however, Harvey’s first experience of the competition, as he played in the competition at the age of 13 and has since competed in the Young Pianist of the North International Piano Competition, the Chopin International Piano Competition, the Emanuel Trophy Piano Competition and the semi-finals of the Nutcracker International Competition in Russia in 2015.
Alexander Finlayson-Brown from the Press Office caught up with Harvey to hear more about his experience, and his passion for the piano
When did you start playing piano and who have you learnt with?
I started playing at seven, and have learned with Edita Stankeviciute at the Windsor Piano School ever since.
How much do you practice each day?
On average I practice for 1-2 hours a day at school. If there is an upcoming concert or competition 2-3 hours and on the weekends and at home 3-4 hours.
What is life like balancing practice with academics?
It is difficult, but I believe I have learned to effectively manage my time at Eton over the past few years. Balancing homework with academic enrichment activities, with Chamber ensembles, violin, organ, harpsichord, and singing lessons, College Chapel Choir and other pursuits such as being a member of the school’s boy-led Investment Club requires extreme organisation!
How does this this second time in the BBC Young Musician finals compare to the first?
The first time I reached the Keyboard Finals I was only 13, as the youngest category finalist that year, so I would say I have definitely matured in my pianism and musicality and gathered a lot of invaluable performing experience. It is as exciting as it was four years ago though! This time I was less nervous and I tried not to think about the other pianists or the competition aspect and focus on my own performance. I think it is important to communicate the message of the composer in each piece.
Where do you aim to take piano as a career?
I am certainly considering a career as a concert pianist, but have yet to decide. I am considering taking a gap year in which I go ‘all in’ on the piano front, perhaps entering one or two prestigious international piano competitions, such as the Hamamatsu, Queen Elisabeth, or Tchaikovsky competitions.
Who is your inspiration?
Currently, Seong-Jin Cho. Perfect in all regards, in control over the keyboard and in his deep understanding of music of all periods, from Mozart to Chopin. I discovered him after he won the Chopin International Competition in 2015, the oldest and arguably the most prestigious competition for pianists that exists.
What else are you interested in?
I’m interested in maths particularly, and if I don’t choose the pianist route, I will study maths at university. I enjoy writing articles for school magazines (such as Axiom and Etonomics) and am an enthusiastic runner and keen chess player!
You can watch Harvey’s breathtaking performance here.
Stay tuned for Eton’s next BBC Young Musician, Alex Pullen, whose performance will be aired on Sunday 24th May!