Born in Cebu, Philippines, Albert Tiu has been called “an artist of uncommon abilities” by American Record Guide. His latest Centaur recording, “The Classical Elements”, featuring twenty pieces grouped according to Earth, Air, Water and Fire, was praised by ARG for its “interesting groupings. Even more important is the playing, which perfectly captures the essence of each piece and links them together.” Fanfare goes further by describing him as “a weaver of magic spells and enchantments… the ability to intuit and differentiate for the listener the distinctive ambient essences of so many similarly themed pieces, therein lies the art, which Tiu possesses in abundance.”
His earlier Centaur recording, “Nocturnal Fantasies”, featuring Chopin and Skryabin, was dubbed “one of the all-time great piano recordings” by Fanfare. “One of the most inventive recital programs ever seen or heard” (ARG), this “compelling and poetically imaginative recording” (Clavier Companion) was also hailed for “performances where heart and mind unite in a deeply affecting union” (Gramophone).
Currently Associate Professor of Piano at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, he studied with Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, with Michael Lewin at Boston Conservatory, and with Nita Abrogar-Quinto and Nelly Castro in the Philippines. A recipient of Juilliard’s William Petschek Award and a prizewinner of competitions in Calgary (Honens), Helsinki (Maj Lind) and Santander (Paloma O’Shea), he won the First Prize and two concerto prizes in the 1996 UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa.
Known for his passion for innovative programming, he has presented recitals with themes like “Chopin without Chopin” (music by Godowsky, Busoni and Rachmaninov influenced by Chopin), and “Bee Flat” (the two Sonatas in B-flat by Beethoven). He has performed with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Hamburg Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, Gstaad Festival Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony, and Philippine Philharmonic. In 2005, he gave the Singapore premiere of Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto with the Singapore Symphony under Tang Muhai.
Soon to be released is a solo disc entitled “Grand Russian”, pairing Tchaikovsky’s Grand Sonata and Rachmaninov’s 1st Sonata. Other recent recording projects include collaborations with tenor Alan Bennett in Schubert’s “Winterreise” on Centaur; with violinist Kam Ning in “Road Movies”, a Meridian disc featuring American composers; and with cellist Qin Li-Wei, in two discs on Decca of Beethoven and Rachmaninov.
He is absolutely addicted to Angry Birds, and in his spare time manages to practice some piano. This is a constant source of both humour and chagrin in the family. When it is in season, his addiction spreads to ice hockey, in which he supports the Pittsburgh Penguins (no relation to Angry Birds).
“Above all his playing exudes a golden tone that sounds as if it was made for 19th century Russia. Add an uncanny sense of timing, supple fingers that seem to be everywhere at once, pedalling that constantly enriches, and penetrating understanding into what makes Russian romantics tick, and you have an authentic mix for spectacular success.” The Advertiser, Adelaide, Australia