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Innovative Investigations

Chee-Hang See

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When you think of undergraduate research, it’s usually microscopes and test tubes or clipboards that come to mind. Meet a guy who has flipped that all around.

Chee-Hang See won a Summer Undergraduate Research With Faculty (SURF) grant, which afforded him the opportunity to perform in Music Fest Perugia, Italy.

SURF grants are administered by the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Program. Chee-Hang’s music professor suggested that he and fellow piano student Amy Tan apply.

“Our work started with planning and managing the Young Artist Series, which is held during the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. That kind of arts management experience isn’t something you expect to get as a piano student,” he says. “I also took part in Spoleto Festival USA. It’s amazing to watch the way a great pianist plays a note or a series. Now I try to apply those techniques to what I do.”

The trip to Italy included student recitals, master classes and workshops every day. Chee-Hang performed in Ferrara, Spoleto and Perugia “in these amazing Renaissance spaces like famed Basilica di San Pietro.” He and Amy had the incredible experience of performing with one of the premier chamber orchestras in Italy. “Our ‘final product’ for the grant was our performances. Amy and I thought it would be interesting to end with something a little unexpected – like a duet.” So, their program included solo repertoire and two-piano works.

Chee-Hang’s music versatility extends to the two-stringed traditional Chinese violin. “Studying the ehru (he earned a diploma in Singapore), started me looking at music from another perspective, and that really helps my piano playing.”