Mei Ting Sun, critically acclaimed pianist, has been heard in many of the world’s greatest concert halls performing an extensive repertoire that includes the complete works for solo piano of Brahms, Chopin, and Debussy, in addition to all 32 Sonatas of Beethoven.
After winning several major competitions, including the first Piano-e competition and the National Chopin Competition of the US, Mei-Ting’s career has taken him throughout most of the US, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, at venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Tonhalle in Zurich, and Obecni Dum in Prague. He has collaborated with many major orchestras, including the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, the Prague Philharmonia, Orquesta Nacional de España, the Warsaw Philharmonic, and the National Symphony of Mexico.
While performing the complete works of other composers, Mei-Ting transcribed and arranged several orchestral and operatic works, expanding the technical and tonal possibilities of the modern piano. This project, which encompasses selections from R. Strauss’s Rosenkavalier and Salome, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite from 1919, and a brand new transcription of Ravel’s La valse, has already garnered rave reviews around the world.
Mei Ting began his life on the concert stage at the Prestigious Spring of Shanghai Festival in 1986 when he was 5 years old. At 9, he left Shanghai for New York and eventually received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Mannes College of Music and Doctorate in Musical Arts from Julliard.
Mei Ting Sun is currently on the faculty of the Royal Academy of Music.
Mei Ting's Story filmed by Joshua Greene
If life was at all fair Ural Thomas would be a household name, his music slotted into countless sweet, seductive mixtapes between James Brown, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder (all of whom Thomas has performed with.) Straddling the line between hot soul shouter and velvety-smooth crooner, Thomas released a few singles in the late 60’s and early 70’s; most notably “Can You Dig It”, which featured backing vocals from soul luminaries Merry Clayton, Mary Wells and Brenda Holloway. Thomas played over forty shows at the legendary Apollo Theater before turning his back on an unkind business and heading home to Portland, Oregon.
It goes without saying that a man practically built out of rhythm would never stop playing music. Thomas began hosting a regular Sunday night jam session at his home that ran for nearly twenty years. A de facto mentor to many of the younger players, Thomas reminds us all that If you care about what you’re doing, you need to build those muscles and do the work. Don’t get discouraged, do it for love. Even if you’re digging ditches, do it with passion.
In 2014, local soul DJ Scott Magee sat in on drums. The two became fast friends and at Magee’s urging Thomas decided to give his musical career another shot. Magee became the musical director, they put together a band, and in 2016 released a self-titled album on Mississippi Records.
In 2017 Thomas signed with Tender Loving Empire and began work on what, in many respects, will be his debut full length. The Right Time features the air-tight work of Magee on drums, percussion, and backing vocals and many notable jazz and blues musicians.
One might think after a sizeable taste of early success Thomas would be bitter – yet the opposite is true. We have to be positive if we want the world to get better. Thomas advises. We’ve come a long way, but if you carry a grudge with the whole world you’ll stop your growth. We’re a family, all just brothers and sisters, descendants of Adam. You can’t get anywhere without an open heart.
A developing artist at nearly eighty years old, for Thomas music has always been about bringing people together. If we play for twenty people we cook it like it’s twenty thousand says Thomas. If we make someone smile we’re satisfied. They’re ain’t no difference between us. It’s all love and brotherhood. If folks listen to my record and feel that I’ll feel very blessed.
Standing in bold defiance of the idea that aging is a reason to slow down and stop living, for Thomas the right time to get down is the next time someone plugs in a guitar or puts on a record. Ural is ready – are you?
No Distance Between You and Me
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