Fan-Ya Lin, a senior in the piano program in the Sid and Mary Foulger School of Music, will play her final recital tonight in the Garrison Choral Room. Lin’s accomplishments have set her apart in the music program, and she has become something of a living legend within the department.
An international student, Lin grew up in Taiwan before moving to Ogden. Her professor, Yu-Jane Yang, played an integral role in recruiting her to Ogden, nearly half a world away.
“I’ve loved it here,” Lin said. “I really appreciate all of the support from my teachers and friends. Everyone is friendly and nice. It’s been a great experience.”
Many credit a large portion of the growth in the music program to Lin, but she denied exclusive credit.
“I play one part of it,” she said. “Many people, and especially the community, play a large role. It’s a group effort. My sponsors, George and Mary Hall, have been a great help. I played a fundraising concert where I raised $40,000, but I still needed $30,000 to upgrade my piano. They agreed to match. I’ve spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with them, and I really feel like they are family. Carol Hurst has also supported me from the beginning. It’s a group effort between the community, the school and the students.”
Lin has gained many fans, but few as loyal as the music professors at Weber State University.
“In my entire time in higher education, I’ve never encountered a student like Fan-Ya,” said Thomas Priest, the chair of the performing arts department. “It’s not because she is an amazing musician, which she is, but rather, it is her generosity of spirit, her playfulness and her willingness to go far beyond what is expected of her. Fan-Ya is an excellent example of how students have the power to transform their education from the ordinary to the extraordinary. What makes the biggest difference in people’s lives are not the things they have to do, but rather, it is the things they choose to do.”
Lin has earned several prestigious awards. She has a number of competitions on her resume, but she didn’t become instantly successful. After not placing in her first state competition, she said, she was determined to improve the next year.
“My first success in Utah was the Utah Music Teachers Association Concerto Audition,” Lin said. “I competed in the UMTA the next year and won state. I got to go regionals in Hawaii with Dr. Yang and Dr. Van der Beek, along with Dr. Palumbo. All six of our students won first place in their competitions, and we all went to Albuquerque for the national competition, and luckily, I won. It was a really nice thing. There were a lot of people there, including the provost.”
Lin has taken first place in numerous national competitions, namely the Aurora Piano Concerto Competition and the Grand Junction Piano Competition. She went on to take third place in the Beethoven Club International Piano Competition and second place at both the New York and Seattle International Piano Competitions, winning the Presidential Award and the Teachers’ Award in the latter.
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience here,” Lin said. “We’re holding a summer camp in the first two weeks of July, with a competition with the winners playing with the Utah Symphony, while I finish the last half of the concert with the entire symphony.”
For her recital, Lin will showcase Beethoven’s Op. 109, Leiberman’s Op. 29 and Chopin’s Etude-Double Third, and she will conclude with Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2.
Lin’s recital will be held this evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Garrison Choral Room, Room 136 in the Browning Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free to the public. Children ages 8 and older are welcome to attend.