Sabrina Xiao He is a local musician who has made qui te a name for herself since immigrating to America.
In the past, He has been named a Prize Winner of the 2019 Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition, taken Second Place at the 2019 Steinway Academy Piano Competition and even secured a position as principal pianist for the Silicon Beach Arts Council. And while she’s certainly proud of her many previous accomplishments, He said she feels like the sky’s the limit after the recent launch of her inaugural album.
With the help of Ivory Classics, He released a new CD of her recordings in February. Executive Produced by Michael Rolland Davis, the 16-song soundtrack features He on the piano and is a clash of French and Chinese songs and culture.
“In 2018, I was doing a cultural exchange program studying Chinese music and American music,” He said, “so that’s when I came up with the idea to record some traditional pieces.”
“This recording is devoted to piano music of Claude Debussy,” who was a famous French Impressionist composer who drew inspiration from the oriental arts, according to He.
“There is a connection between Chinese music and Debussy’s French impression music, so that’s how I put it together and got the idea to record this whole recording that has eight Chinese pieces plus eight French pieces,” He said.
With its cascading, soft notes and relaxing melody, He hopes listeners envision themselves among rivers, mountains and the moonlight, which is reflected in many of the album’s titles.
“I think it will be interesting for the listeners and hopefully inspiring,” He said, mentioning all 16 songs are now available online at ivoryclassics.com/releases/20190. “It’s very exciting to think about and I feel very grateful.”
With more than 300 solo piano recitals and international chamber concerts at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Gijon Municipal Concert Hall in Spain and even the local St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Lincoln under her belt, He said she has played piano for as long as she can remember.
She said all she has ever wanted was to nurture her love of music.
Per Chinese tradition, according to He, five items are placed before a baby on their first birthday and the first item the baby grabs indicates the child’s future. Items can range from spoons and ladles, which could predict a culinary future, or a brush pen that may suggest the arts.
Her father is a piano teacher and educator, He said, so her assortment consisted of a book, a pen, a painting, a calculator and an electronic keyboard, which she would obviously reach for first.
He began lessons at 4 and by the age of 13, she was accepted into the prestigious Sichuan Conservatory of Music in China, where she was praised by her mentors.
In the next six years, she performed in various large concert halls all over China and won honorary titles and numerous awards in both local and national piano competitions in China. After He completed her studies at the music conservatory, she moved to America to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of San Francisco and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Eventually, the local resident made her way to Los Angeles to attend USC and obtain a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance.
She currently resides in Santa Monica.