NIU honors students were captivated Wednesday as they listened to alum Yao Lin play the piano and share her love of music, which she described as the universal language.
Lin, known as Lina on campus, came to NIU in 2009 from Beijing to study piano performance with William Goldenberg, a distinguished professor in the NIU School of Music.
“Music, for me, is a very powerful language,” said Lin, who speaks Russian, Chinese and English.
As the students watched her perform with the NIU Philharmonic in a You Tube video, they could feel a range of emotions, from sadness to excitement.
“To achieve your dreams, always be hard-working and persistent and never give up,” said Lin, who practices the piano four to eight hours a day.
In May 2013, the 26-year-old made her Carnegie Hall debut for winning second place in both the concerto and solo contests of the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition.
Lin also received her performance certificate and master’s degree in music last May from NIU and was twice awarded the Donald Walker Living Legacy Scholarship for being an outstanding graduate student.
Before coming to the U.S., she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance at Odessa State Academy of Music in Ukraine.
She is a pianist, accompanist and piano teacher at NIU and in the community. Besides the piano, she plays the organ, harpsichord and guitar.
Her goal is to find a full-time teaching position or get accepted in a doctorate music program.
Her piano playing began at age 8 and came to a halt during her first semester at NIU, when she fell off a bike during a short ride on campus. She received a metal plate and seven screws to repair a fracture in her left wrist. The hardware was eventually removed because it caused her pain when she played.
“I think that music is the best way to express our emotion and the feeling of love,” Lin said. “My favorite part of playing the piano is that I can have conversations with the best souls when I study so many great composers’ work. I am able to communicate with them, listen to their hearts and try my best to carry on their souls and minds to the people.”