Named one of CBC Music’s top 30 emerging musicians under 30, Toronto-based pianist Vanessa Yu is establishing herself as a sensitive and vibrant musician. As the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 Pacific Rim International Music Festival, she was invited to perform at Carnegie’s Weill Hall in New York City.

Vanessa has presented solo and chamber programs for the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra’s NewGen series, Confluence Concerts, Chautauqua Institution, and the University of Toronto’s Thursdays at Noon series. Most recently, Vanessa gave solo recitals for the International Holland Music Sessions in the Netherlands and the Nine Sparrows Arts Foundation in Canada. Other performances have taken her to Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, the United States, and across Canada. Vanessa has had recordings nationally broadcasted on CBC Music, in addition to being featured on OMNI Television and 680 News. As a finalist at the Classicalia competition, her performance at the Vienna Konzerthaus was televised by PBS SoCal and Stingray Classica.

A seasoned concerto soloist, Vanessa has performed Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Rimsky-Korsakov concerti with the Central Texas Philharmonic, Vienna Opera Ball, Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber, Mississauga Symphony, Oakville Chamber, York Symphony, Burlington Symphony, North York Concert, and Etobicoke Philharmonic orchestras. Upcoming engagements include performances of Saint-Saëns’s Fifth Concerto with the Toronto Concert, Scarborough Philharmonic, and Kindred Spirits orchestras.
Garnering awards in Canada and beyond, Vanessa has received top prizes at the Chicago and Città di San Donà di Piave international competitions, among others. Recently, she was the youngest contestant and prizewinner at both the 2023 Eisemann International Young Artists Competition and the 2022 Thousand Islands International Piano Competition, as well as the Grand Prize winner of the 2023 International Music Festival and Competition held in Ontario.

Vanessa recently graduated from the BMusPerf program at the University of Toronto where she was a full merit scholarship student under the tutelage of Steven Philcox and formerly Enrico Elisi. She will be starting graduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University this fall as a student of Boris Slutsky.

Inspired by her mentors, Vanessa enjoys teaching; her students have won awards at competitions including the OMFA provincials. She has recently taught masterclasses at the Orrett Music Academy and Berkovsky-Solomon Academy of Music, and adjudicated for the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association (ORMTA)’s Central Toronto auditions.

As an avid designer, Vanessa is also a calligrapher and bullet journalist, and has taught workshops for partners including Google.

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