Winston Choi

Canadian-born pianist Winston Choi launched his professional career when he was named laureate of the 2003 Honens Piano Competition and winner of France’s Concours International de Piano 20e Siècle d’Orléans in 2002. An inquisitive performer, he takes a fresh approach to standard repertoire. His masterful understanding, performance and commitment to works by living composers make him one of today’s most dynamic concert artists.

Choi maintains an active international performing schedule as a concert soloist and chamber music recitalist. Known for his colorful approach to programming and insightful commentary from the stage, Choi performs extensively in France. In demand throughout his native Canada, Choi can be heard on CBC broadcasts.

An accomplished chamber musician, he has performed with the Aeolus, Avalon, Philomusica and Spektral string quartets. He also appears regularly with the Civitas Ensemble, featuring members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and performs in Duo Diorama (with his wife, violinist MingHuan Xu). As Duo Diorama, they are the artistic directors of the Unity Chamber Music Series at the Unity Temple in Oak Park. In addition, Choi is a core member of Ensemble Dal Niente. A frequent participant on the CSO MusicNOW series, Choi has performed with Contempo and the Fulcrum Point New Music Project.

A dedicated champion of contemporary music, Choi has premiered and commissioned more than 100 works by young composers as well as established masters. As a composer himself, he feels that being involved with the creative process is an integral part of his artistry. He was the first pianist to perform Pierre Boulez’s last version of Incises in North America and gave the South American premiere of Luciano Berio‘s Sonata for pianoforte solo. He also regularly appears in concert at IRCAM, the world’s most renowned institution for contemporary music.

Composers he has collaborated with include William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, Brian Ferneyhough, Jacques Lenot, George Lewis, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Bright Sheng, Christian Wolff, Chen Yi and John Zorn. 

Choi received acclaim for his debut CD, the complete piano works of Elliott Carter (l’Empreinte Digitale in France), which received five stars from BBC Music magazine. He recorded the complete piano music of Jacques Lenot, which won the Grand Prix du Disque from l’Académie Charles Cros for Volume 1. His recording of the piano works of Thomas Adès was released on the Buisonne label. In addition, he has recorded for Aeolian Classics, Albany, Arktos, BIS, Cedille, Crystal Records, Naxos, New World Records and QuadroFrame.

Choi obtained his bachelor and master of music degrees from Indiana University, and his doctorate from Northwestern University. His studies were with Vivienne Bailey, James Tweedie, Menahem Pressler and Ursula Oppens. An accomplished educator, he is associate professor of piano and the head of the piano program at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts. Choi is also in demand as a master-class clinician and lecturer on a variety of pedagogical topics.

Before taking up his position at Roosevelt University, he was on the faculties of Bowling Green State University and the Oberlin Conservatory. He has been a guest professor at Indiana University, and he also teaches at the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago, as well as the New Music School in Chicago.