Hong Kong protesters seek new a life in Canada

On the evening of 7-21-2019, a mob wearing white T-shirts and wielding sticks attacked pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. In Toronto, artist Ricker Choi was shocked, angered and sad.  The Hong-Kong born Mr. Choi, who has a day job as a financial risk management consultant, began painting pictures related to the demonstrations, reaching back to the movement’s beginnings in mid-2019. The paintings now amount to 30, depicting significant events in the protests, and Mr. Choi is selling prints to raise money for Hong Kong democracy activists who are fleeing to Canada for fear of persecution in China....  see link

抗暴之戰|移加30年港人自言政治冷感 覺醒後義賣畫作助流亡手足 - Political Indifference to Activist

自去年6月起,香港人爭取民主,抗爭從無間斷。一次接一次遊行、集會、佔領、被打壓,甚至失蹤,在許多人心中劃上永不痊癒的傷疤。這些吶喊除了讓更多香港人覺醒,也喚醒許多已移居外地多年的港人。移居多倫多30多年,從政治冷感到主動籌備義賣活動的Ricker Choi是其中一人。  Since June last year, Hong Kong people have fought for democracy. Rallies, suppression, disappearances have drawn scars that will never heal. Their screams have not only awakened Hong Kongers, but also those abroad. Ricker Choi, moved to Toronto 30 years ago, is one of them...  read in Chinese;  read in English

Siege of CUHK Commemoration - 11/11/2020

I am deeply honored that 8 of my paintings are exhibited in prints as part of “Siege of CUHK” Commemoration.  Here is CUHK Joint Student Unions Statement about the historical event last year, on Nov 11, 2019, and photos of my painting displays at the exhibition.....   see link

從漠不關心到力撐香港 加拿大華人心路歷程 - 多倫多大紀元時報 - A Hong Konger-Canadian’s Journey from Political-Indifference to Awaking

2019年香港的夏天註定不平凡,一場轟轟烈烈的反送中運動在香港街頭爆發。上百萬、兩百萬的大規模遊行,警察暴力打壓,街頭的槍林彈雨、硝煙瀰漫,震驚了世界,也震醒了許多海外的香港人。蔡維紀就是其中一位.  The summer of 2019 Hong Kong is destined to be extraordinary. Large-scale demonstrations, police brutality, rain of bullets and gunpowder on the streets shocked the world and also awakened many Hong Kong people overseas. Ricker Choi is one of them....   read in Chinese; read in English

The Perfect World - Interview with Amateur Pianist Ricker Choi: 两全其美的生活﹣ 专访业余钢琴家蔡维纪 - QI Post, by LK 2013

蔡維紀(Ricker Choi)白天,他是多倫多宏利金融公司的全職風險系統管理顧問;下班後,他是位鋼琴演奏家,曾在著名的Berlin Philharmonie,於2500名聽眾前演奏李斯特的Totentanz,贏得柏林國際業餘鋼琴比賽第二名。 此外,Ricker跟其他音樂天才還有一點不同之處,就是他並未當過眾人所謂的神童。12歲的時候,第一次接觸樂器是由於就讀的聖保羅男女校規定學生學習樂器,他只好勉為其難地拿起二胡,竟然就此發現了一個新世界,改變了他的一生.... see link

Dedication drives pianist Ricker Choi - Toronto Star, by John Terauds 2008
 

There is nothing unusual about a summer music festival highlighting its students.  But there is something unusual about one of the students who will be on stage at Walter Hall this afternoon.  The tall, thin 33-year-old, who is about to play Franz Liszt's daunting Mephisto Waltz on the concert Steinway at the Toronto Summer Music festival is not a full-time student or a full-time musician.  He is a project manager for a software company who decided, only three years ago, that he needed more music in his life.... see link

HK Protest Paintings in Zine Magazine "Broken Pencil" 2019

Toronto-based Ricker Choi uses painting to tell the story of the protests.  Pieces like Fighting For Freedom, based on a photo by Elson Li, tease out new meanings from imagery typically seen in the media.

Artist Ricker Choi primarily uses acrylic painting to comment back on the narratives of Hong Kong... 

see link to continue reading

link to Broken Pencil magazine

How to Perform a Piano Concerto - Grand Piano Passion, ​by Nancy M. Williams 2012
 

In 2010, Ricker blazed into Berlin and advanced to the final round of the International Piano Amateur Competition, which called for the six finalists to play a piano concerto with the Sibelius Orchestra Berlin, led by the conductor Stanley Chia-Ming Dodds. Ricker’s dazzling performance garnered him second place...

 

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The benefits of studying classical music: Ricker Choi, business consultant - 96.3 New Classical FM, by Liz Parker 2018

I had a few piano lessons at age seven, when I was still in Hong Kong. But at that time I hated the piano and I quit very shortly. Then, I entered a school in Hong Kong (St. Paul’s Co-educational College) that requires each student to play at least one musical instrument. I picked a Chinese string instrument called Erhu. I played Erhu between age 11 and 14. It was at this school that I got my first exposures to classical music, and I fell in love immediately! In music classes, l heard my classmates perform classical masterworks such as Chopin Waltzes... see link

Music Heals - Concert Re​view - Dilettante's Diary, by Patrick Donohue 2013

Ricker Choi, the concert’s organizer, has won distinction by ranking among the top winners in several international competitions for amateur pianists. He now works in the financial industry but he dedicates the gift of his musicianship to the benefit of the community. In the case of this concert, for example, the net proceeds will go to SickKids Foundation.....             

 

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Amateur Pianist Ricker Choi on Preparing for His Upcoming Concert - Grand Piano Passion, by Joanna M. Eng 2016

How does amateur pianist Ricker Choi manage it all? He is preparing to perform a Rachmaninoff piano concerto, accompanied by a full orchestra, for an audience of hundreds. He has won multiple first, second, and third prizes in amateur piano competitions over the past decade; has performed at the 2,500-seat Berlin Philharmonie; and has played live on Toronto’s 96.3 FM classical radio. Ricker is also a full-time business consultant...             

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Interview: Amateur is just a label for Toronto pianist Ricker Choi - Musical Toronto, by Margaret Lam 2012
 

As a 7-year-old, Choi found his first music lessons so boring that he quit. It wasn’t until he heard his friends play Für Elise and Beethoven sonatas at age 12 that his own interest in playing stirred up. ​Using what he could remember from the half-dozen or so lessons he had taken, he painstakingly worked out every note in Für Elise. The first page took about a month for him to learn how to play, with the unavoidable wrong notes...

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In music, unlike when rewiring your house, ‘amateur’ does not mean ‘bad’ - Musical Toronto, by John Terauds 2012
 

Throw the word ‘amateur’ around, and most people think ‘bad.’ It’s time to change that, at least in the world of music. DIY home renovations have probably reinforced the amateur-equals-bad association. But anyone even remotely adept at diagnosing and fixing wiring can, through a series of tests and apprenticeships, become a licensed electrician and go on to get more work than he or she can handle. The same holds true for plumbers, welders, carpenters and all the other trades... see link

Music Heals - Concert Re​view - Dilettante's Diary, by Patrick Donohue 2012


Ricker Choi isn’t your typical financial wiz kid. True, he has an MBA and he works as a business consultant for one of the big banks, specializing in financial risk management. But he’s also a very accomplished pianist. In addition to several other major prizes won over recent years, in 2010 he won second prize in the 2010 Berlin International Amateur Piano Competition and, just this year, he won third prize in the Paris International Competition for Outstanding Piano Amateurs... see link

Piano Practice with High-Frequency Hearing Loss - Grand Piano Passion, ​by Nancy M. Williams 2013


Ricker’s ability to hear and play the music so sensitively doesn’t give away one thing: he has a high-frequency hearing loss.   The amateur pianist, who has garnered several prizes at piano competitions and performed a Liszt concerto with full orchestra, sat down to talk with us about how his hearing affects his piano practice and performance, and vice versa. Read on for some of his ingenious tips for musicians who are concerned with their hearing health... see link

​​​​​​​Olga Kern in Toronto Feb. 22-23:​​​ Piano​​​ Master Class - The Wholenote, by Peter Kristian Mose 2012
Ricker Choi presented a fascinating biography. He began the piano at age 13, then dropped it altogether at age 18 for a decade of studies in business and eventual work as a financial analyst.  Nowadays he is back to pursuing the piano with a vengeance, despite his day job in the banking industry.   He is one of the pack of current hotshot adult amateur piano contestants who travel the globe to compete against other part-time pianists in international amateur competitions, and he has the trophies to prove it.  Choi played Liszt’s brash First Mephisto Waltz with clinical precision, spare pedaling, and clear engagement... see link

2012 Concours International de Grands Amateurs de Piano: Ricker Choi: 3rd Place Winner - at Salle Gaveau in Paris 2012

...Some competitors had even gone through vigorous music training and graduated from music academy, but in the end pursued in a non-music career... Ricker who was born in Hong Kong, now working in banking risk management in Canada, was awarded 3rd prize. Competition's jury are all of high calibre and are renowned international pianists and professors... the level of playing was very high, as explained by one of the jury member Zhang Yun... see link

When You Need a Quiet Piano - Grand Piano Passion, ​by Nancy M. Williams 2012


Ricker Choi is an accomplished amateur pianist from Toronto, Ontario.  In the last five years, he has placed in amateur piano competitions from Boston to Berlin.  Yet several years ago, after he received a threatening letter from his neighbors, he worried about his ability to sustain his practice...

 

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Toronto amateur pianist Ricker Choi gets centre stage at COC lunchtime concert Nov. 22 - Musical Toronto, by John Terauds 2011
It’s been three years since I met Ricker Choi, financial risk analyst by day, white-knuckle pianist by night.  He’s taken every master class and lesson he can get his fingers on, and competes regularly in amateur piano contests.  He is also living proof that we can achieve pretty much anything we want, if we really, really try hard.  Choi presents an hour-long recital at noon today, as part of the Canadian Opera Company’s regular recital series.  The program is a dramatic sandwich: Sonata No. 5 by Alexander Scriabin, four of the Op. 118 Intermezzi by Johannes Brahms and La Valse by Maurice Ravel... see link

Washington’s International Amateur Piano Competition - The Washington Diplomat, by Gail Scott - 2008
 

The top winner of the Sixth Annual Washington International Piano Artists Competition this year was Ricker Choi, a software engineer originally from Hong Kong who is now making his home in Canada...

 

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COC Free Concert - Ricker Choi - 2011
The Canadian Opera Company continues to sponsor free lunch time concerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.  Recently featured pianist Ricker Choi had a back story that is as interesting as his performance was impressive.  Despite being gifted with musical talent, Ricker chose instead to pursue a business career by getting an MBA and working full time as a financial risk consultant.  Yet he still finds enough time to hone his piano skills to place second in the Boston and Berlin International Amateur Piano Competitions and play with the Berlin Philharmonica Orchestra... see link

2012 CCC Music Festival: Ricker Choi - Festival Grand Prize Winner 2012

 

The CCC piano competition concluded yesterday at the Chinese Cultural Center. Ricker Choi was the Festival Grand Prize Winner, sponsored by Scotiabank. Besides Ricker, there were many other great pianists performed in the festival gala yesterday. Ricker started having piano lessons only when he was 13 years old. He is an experienced performer who has won numerous prizes. Ricker said he is most impressed with the high standard and the superb venue and piano in which the competition was held.

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Concert pianist is a risk-analytics specialist by day - Investment Executive, by Kate Betts-Wilmott 2009
When Ricker Choi finished high school, he had to decide whether to pursue a career in music or one in business. A student of the piano at the time, he went so far as to apply for auditions for music programs at post-secondary institutions. In the end, he chose to pursue a business degree at York University in Toronto. Now a risk-analytics program manager for Algorithmics Inc., a provider of risk-management software for the financial services industry in Toronto, Choi, 34, still puts his musical training to good use. An accomplished classical pianist, he organizes concerts featuring himself and other performers to raise money for charitable causes... see link

2012 Concours International de Grands Amateurs de Piano: Ricker Choi: 3rd Place Winner - at Salle Gaveau in Paris 2012
Hong Kong-born Canadian, Ricker Choi, works in financial risk management.  He performed Liszt, Brahms, and Ravel's works.  Ricker was emotionally very into his performance, causing him almost lost balance when he took the bow.  Ricker started learning the piano only after he was 13 years old.  Because of university, he stopped piano playing for many years.  He started again only 6 years ago after he felt his career was now steady.  His goal to come to Paris competition is to be able to perform at the prestigious Salle Gaveau in the final round.... see link