Pei Hsien (Ariel) Lu


Photo credit


First Prize, 2019 Thailand International Percussion Competition, Chamber Group-Piano Part; Second Prize, 2014 Taiwan National Student Music competition, marimba; Second Prize, 2012 Taiwan Excellence Music Competition, marimba


Round Top Music Festival, 2022

What is your earliest memory of classical music?

J.S. Bach’s Piano Minuet in G major

Was there a teacher who was particularly impactful/helpful? What made this instructor stand out?

My first percussion teacher in Taiwan is one of the main teachers who was, and still is, particularly impactful and helpful.

How did you hear about TŌN? What inspired you to apply?

I heard about TŌN from friends who are also in TŌN. I have been passionate about playing in an orchestra since high school, and I always wanted to play and work in an orchestra. Therefore, I think this program is a great opportunity for me to learn and enjoy playing here.

What is the most memorable performance you ever had?

I have lots of great performance memories. I think the most memorable would be my first time playing Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, which was my first time playing as First Timpanist, which is one of my dream parts. During the concert, I could feel the excitement from the conductor and the whole orchestra. Moreover, I was using my whole body to play it. Smiling and looking at the conductor and the second timpanist, I could feel the excitement increasing. I will never forget that joyful moment.

Can you share any memorable onstage mishaps?

There was one orchestra performance where we performed Petrushka by Igor Stravinsky, and I was on timpani. During the dress rehearsal, the four timpani were all in good shape. However, when the concert was about to begin, the 26-inch timpani suddenly broke, and I couldn’t fix it. So I changed the pitches from four timpani to three timpani while performing. And no one noticed that I changed it within this short amount of time.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t a musician, I would be a stage manager, photographer for performing arts, and video editor.

What is a surprising part of playing your instrument that you think most people don’t know?

For percussion, we have tons of instruments have to learn. Some of them look really hard, such as marimba or timpani, and some of them looks really simple and easy, such as triangle and cymbals. Some of my friends who are not musicians always say that the triangle looks really easy, or the person who plays the triangle is so relaxed on the stage. Once I told them how hard it actually is, and some of them also tried it by themselves, everyone was surprised about it.

What is the biggest challenge and/or surprise about playing in an orchestra?

For timpani/percussion, I think the biggest challenge is that the sounds I make have to surprise or catch the audience’s ears.

What advice would you give your younger self or anyone starting out?

Don’t be afraid. Be more confident!

What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now?

 I wish I knew about joining / attending summer music festivals earlier.