Named one of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Hot 30 under 30 Canadian Classical Musicians, Chinese-Canadian pianist Linda Ruan is passionate about sharing the potential of music to overcome boundaries across cultures. Since being introduced to the drums at the age of four and then the piano at the age of seven, music has remained a stabilizing force in her diverse childhood from Tokyo, Shanghai to Vancouver. With every move to a different country, she learned a new language and adapted to her circumstances. Her unconventional path from a young age broadened her horizons and cultivated a fascination for diverse cultures. Her curiosity guided her beyond her solo piano studies, expanding to music pedagogy and community engagement, the fortepiano, conducting and a wide range of chamber music projects. To this day, Linda continues to reach audiences through her multifaceted work online.
As a strong supporter of diversity in classical music, she seeks projects which amplify marginalized voices in the past and the present. Linda performed in the 2020 Juilliard Focus Festival: Trailblazers: Pioneering Women Composers of the 20th Century, playing “Emily’s Images'', a series of pieces for flute and piano based on Emily Dickinson’s poetry by Vivian Fine. In her engagement with the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dina Gilbert, she performed Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto. Both Vivian Fine and Clara Schumann were female composers whose voices had been neglected during their lifetime and finally gaining recognition. Since last year, Linda has been compiling works by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and women composers on her Instagram page. She then creates Instagram guides where, for example, she curates music by black composers for Black History Month, bringing awareness to these works for the growing community of music lovers. Through her social media presence, she had been able to introduce a number of composers to the general audience including well-established composers Tan Dun and Bright Sheng, and Tania León; as well as African-American composers such as Margaret Bonds, Florence Price, Betty Jackson King and Estelle Ricketts.
Linda is a top prize winner in a number of international piano competitions including the 2021 VI Odin International Music Competition, the 2020 Music Without Limits International Competition, PianoArts North American Piano Competition, Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association National Piano Competition and the Seattle International Piano Competition. Linda has performed in a number of venues across the world, including a recital tour in China spanning Guangzhou to Changchun to Shanghai. As the winner of the provincial piano competition hosted by the British Columbia Registered Music Teachers’ Association, she also had the opportunity to perform in the Young Artist Tour of British Columbia. Additionally, she made her orchestral debut with the Xinghai Philharmonic, performing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in the Xinghai Symphony Hall. Since then, she has played with Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, Royal Conservatory Orchestra, Oakville Chamber Orchestra and Kamloops Symphony Orchestra.
As an avid chamber musician, Linda took part in the Yellowbarn Young Artist Program, the Banff Centre Chamber Music Residency and the Banff Centre Piano Masterclasses, Morningside Music Bridge and the Holland International Music Sessions. She was also the class pianist in many vocal diction classes and stagecraft classes in her undergraduate studies. In these programs, she had the opportunity to play a variety of chamber music and be heard by stellar chamber musicians such as Natasha Brofsky, Seth Knopp, and Mark Steinberg. Furthermore, she has worked in masterclasses with esteemed musicians such as the great pianists Leon Fleisher and Richard Goode, superstar violinist Maxim Vengerov, and Wenzel Fuchs, the principal clarinetist of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Deeply committed to giving back to the world which has given her such a wealth of opportunities, Linda launched the Vancouver Chapter for Suite Melody Care in 2020, designing and coordinating thematic virtual performances by young and emerging musicians for retirement communities across Metro Vancouver. Additionally, she is a community engagement fellow at The Juilliard School where she works as a Piano Fellow with the Music Advancement Program. She assists the piano faculty in secondary piano classes, working with students aged 8-17 from backgrounds underrepresented in classical music. In 2021, she was the Piano Fellow for Nord Anglia Education’s Juilliard Virtual Winter Program, supporting the faculty with technical assistance and communication with individual students. She was a collaborative pianist for Back to Bach Project Toronto, bringing interactive workshops to schools in the Greater Toronto Area. From 2016 to 2019, she was an instructor and collaborative pianist at Reaching Out Through Music, where she provided and supported musical opportunities for children in St. Jamestown, one of the most ethnically diverse and economically deprived neighbourhoods in Toronto. In 2017, she performed the Clara Schumann Piano Concerto in a benefit concert for the Vancouver Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
Linda received her Bachelor of Music degree with Honours from The Glenn Gould School in Toronto under the tutelage of James Anagnoson and Li Wang. She completed her Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School in the studio of Hung-Kuan Chen. Currently, she is studying at the Tianjin Juilliard School with Dr. Xiaohan Wang.