Mandy Chiu joined Nueva in September 2016 as a member of the Menuhin faculty. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Mandy began her career as a pianist at the age of eight, winning the Taipei District Piano Competition. After moving to Australia, Mandy flourished as a distinguished young performer, playing regularly at the Sydney Opera House and Town Hall. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree with honors from the Sydney Conservatorium, and later earned her master’s degree in music from Boston University. Mandy was a ballet accompanist for many years with American Ballet Theater in New York, Houston Ballet, and Boston Ballet. In addition to her work at Nueva, Mandy also teaches for CSMA in Mountain View and is a faculty member at the Crowden Music Center in Berkeley.
1. What brought you to Nueva?
I moved here from Boston because my family lives in California and the weather is so much better! A former faculty member introduced me to Nueva when they were looking to hire piano faculty, and I was most interested in the Menuhin program. The Menuhin program is very special, and I was raised in a very similar program growing up in Sydney, Australia. I believe music and a musical education should be accessible for everyone.
2. What strikes you about our community?
I love how at Nueva we are able to provide a much higher musical education for students outside of a conservatory through the Menuhin program. I especially love Nueva students because they are proactive when it comes to learning. They have plans for what they want to do next. I find that my Menuhin students are infinitely curious; they go out and research what they want to learn next instead of being fed everything, and that challenges me to better support them on their projects.
3. Tell us about the personal and professional growth you want to pursue here?
I want to take the Menuhin program to another level. Everything is possible, but you have to think outside the box. We have so much opportunity to get the program reinvigorated. We now have 16 students ranging from grades 2 to 8 and we are looking to expand the program into the Upper School so we can provide the program for our continuing students. We have vocalists, violinists, and pianists, and I’d love to see students expanding into other instruments.
4. What does music have the power to do?
Music is everything to me. Music is my best friend, it’s always there. I want to share my experience and bring music to students at Nueva and the general public. Having music in your life can change how you see the world.
5. Favorite composer, piece of music, or movie, and why?
It changes all the time but my current favorite composer is Dmitri Shostakovich. He’s a modern composer, yet he uses conventional harmonic language that is really beautiful. His music is infinite and timeless.
My favorite movie right now is La La Land. I love how after you watch that movie you walk out of the theater feeling light and happy. That’s the power of music! You can be moved so easily.
By Louise Schultze, Interim Director of Communications
February 28, 2018