San Francisco contemporary classical pianist Kimberly Hou recently released her debut instrumental piano EP, Opus One, a glorious collection of compositions.
Explaining the EP’s inspiration, Hou says, “I wrote my first EP, ‘Opus One,’ to offer different perspectives of experiencing various chapters of life. Reminiscing about moments of beauty, wonder, and loss – yet emerging ever stronger, cherishing life and loved ones even more from the present moment onwards.”
Since beginning piano at age four, Hou has become one of the premier pianists in the U.S., taking First Prize in the 2009 Music Teachers National Association Junior Piano Competition, along with winning the 23rd, 25th, and 27th International Young Artist Competitions, as well as more than two dozen regional and national competitions. She performed with the Richmond, New River Valley, and VCU Symphony Orchestras, and received the inaugural Elmer award for her benefit concerts for the Kids In Need Foundation.
In 2012, she was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts by the U.S. White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, along with receiving a Silver Award from the National Young Arts Foundation. Featured on NPR’s From the Top, Hou has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, the Kennedy Center Concert Hall and Millennium Stage, the U.S. State Department, the Hungarian Embassy, and the Bulgarian Embassy.
A graduate of the Columbia University-Juilliard School Exchange Program in NYC, Hou has composed for and scored films, documentaries, video games, and podcasts, along with performing concerts.
Embracing four-tracks, Opus One begins with “Field of Memories,” opening on gentle nostalgic colors trickling with wistful recollections. Hou’s technique, soft and suffused with passionate pauses, infuses the song with elusive familiarity.
“Reflections” travels on washes of tender notes escalating to bright, strident urgency, as sparkling accents give the melody charming embers of life. “Dancing In Time” delivers more contemporary flavors and hints of art-pop textures. The music rises and ebbs on scrumptious layers of converging tones.
“For My Love” resembles the musical score of a classic love movie of the ‘30s, merging quixotic hues with delicate nuances, gracious and oh so gorgeous. “For My Love” is my favorite track on this wonderful EP because of its pervasive soothing articulation.
Marvelously wrought, rife with pure elegance, Opus One is the perfect accompaniment to drifting on mellow waves of blissful contemplation.