A Pianist’s Journal : Gwhyneth Chen Cultural “triathlon” at Twin Oaks

Washington DC

By Gwhyneth Chen

On May 27, I did my first cultural “triathlon” at Twin Oaks, the residence to nine Taiwanese Ambassadors in the past in Washington, DC. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office hosted an event for the Welcome Club International as part of their biennial conference. 150 members gathered from around the world in Washington DC, for the Memorial weekend. I was invited to perform a cultural “triathlon”.

Gwhyneth Chen Cultural “triathlon” at Twin Oaks

The traveling piano: I was performing a 20-minute program when the piano, which was not removed from its wheeled platform, started to slide to the right. Five minutes into the concert, my belly button was aligned with the bass section instead of middle C. I was debating whether to stop the performance or continue playing as my arms gradually stretched out to the right side. Finally, I sustained one note with the right-foot pedal while standing up with the left foot and moved my bench one foot to the right to catch up with the traveling piano. I managed to finish the first piece, but there was a second piece on the program. A kind-hearted staff member from Twin Oaks came to hold the piano while I played the second piece. The audience gasped and gave a standing ovation to the pianist at the traveling piano.

Gwhyneth Chen Cultural “triathlon” at Twin Oaks

I gave a talk on the current cultural and music affairs in Taiwan.

Gwhyneth Chen Cultural “triathlon” at Twin Oaks

I ran upstairs to Madame Chiang-Kai Shek’s former bedroom to change into my next outfit for the red-carpet fashion show featuring traditional Taiwanese clothing.

At the conclusion of my cultural “triathlon”, a beautiful necklace was presented to me as a gift sponsored by Tiffany.

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