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Instagram Diary: vivigirl222

Rehearsing with Friends

The Juilliard School, DMA, MM
Oberlin College, BM

Stay-at-home amusements: duos with the hubs

Virtual Kiddie Class


Since 2017, Vivian has been working as Artist Faculty and Curriculum Consultant for the Juilliard K-12 Department and Piano Lead of Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard. As Founder of Vivian Chang Studios, Vivian engaged 40 artists and 200 students through creative offerings during the pandemic and continues to offer workshops and performance opportunities for the studio. Vivian has recorded numerous educational programs for Boston and NYC public schools and taught "Afterschool Arts with Juilliard" at the British International School in DC. As former faculty at the Levine School of Music, Vivian taught in Educational Outreach, First Music, the American Songbook Chorus, and collaborated with faculty, instrumentalists and singers of all ages. Vivian currently maintains an active private piano studio; her students perform in monthy studio concerts, participate in local productions and ensembles. and earned high and top marks at NYSSMA.

Vivian also has leadership and administrative responsibilities beyond teaching. As Piano Chair of Pixical from 2020-2022, she helped build a new educational program that hired 25 faculty and enrolled over 350 piano students. In recent years, Vivian was invited to speak at Oberlin Conservatory and the Brigham Young University School of Music about networking and entrepreneurship. At the University of South Carolina School of Music, Vivian has adjudicated and awarded student grant proposals.


Vivian made her solo piano debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16, performing Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals. She has performed with numerous chamber ensembles and for the past 24 years, as core member of the ASCAP/NEA award-winning Chameleon Arts Ensemble in Boston. She has also performed live on Boston Public Radio on multiple occasions. As a collaborative pianist, Vivian has performed in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully Hall, the MoMA, Taiwan National Hall and in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and Czech Republic. For almost a decade, Vivian performed as Staff Pianist at Juilliard, as an Official Pianist for Juilliard entrance auditions, and for numerous competitions and auditions in official capacity, including Artist International of Europe. She also collaborated and toured with singers in performances presented by the Marilyn Horne Foundation and performed as Artist-in-Residence at the Monteverdi in Tuscany, Italy in 2019 and 2016. In addition to freelancing in the metro DC area, Vivian performs as Pianist with Paragon Pops and as both Pianist and 1st Violinist of the NIH Philharmonia Orchestra.


Vivian is a champion for inclusion and accessibility, and is committed to providing musical opportunities for children with special educational needs. In 2016, the Westchester Jewish Council of NY recognized Vivian with the Julian Y. Bernstein Distinguished Service Award for her work with the special needs population and creating interactive, musical programs for these children and their families. While living in NY, she served actively on committees that provided community based resources for special needs families.  In 2018, Vivian began collaborating with the Music Therapy department at the Levine School of Washington, DC in piloting new class-music offerings for children with special educational needs. Before the pandemic, Vivian performed regularly for patients and their families at the Safra Family Lodge and Children's Inn on the NIH campus; she will resume these performances at the NIH in the Spring of 2023.


Vivian earned DMA and MM degrees from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Samuel Sanders, Jonathan Feldman, and Albert Fuller. As recipient of the first Citibank-Juilliard Stipendium and the Huntington Beebe Award, Vivian pursued additional studies in Germany at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy”, as a vocal coach at the Leipzig Opera House, and with pianist Phillip Moll in Berlin, Germany.

Vivian earned both Violin and Piano Performance degrees at Oberlin College-Conservatory, where she graduated Pi Kappa Lambda and was recipient of the Conservatory Dean's Talent Award and Faculty Prize in Accompanying. She studied piano with Joseph Schwartz and Robert Shannon, violin with Stephen Clapp, chamber music with Robert McDonald, and accompanying with Jeanne Kierman Fischer and Phil Highfill. Vivian also taught as Music Theory and Keyboard Skills Assistant under Professor Allan Cadwallader.

Vivian spent her summers at Aspen Music Festival and Academy of the West, where she studied with pianists Gabriel Chodos, Jerome Lowenthal, and Anne Epperson. While pursuing further training at the Summer Kodály Institute at NYU, she studied Vocal Pedagogy, Choral Conducting and Kodály Methodology, focusing on best practices in teaching school-aged students. Vivian also trained in Stanley Greenspan’s “Floor Time”, an approach which continues to inform her teaching.



November 5, 2022

ROBERT SCHUMANN Three Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73 for Clarinet and Piano

Performed by Clarinetist Gary Gorczyca and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

Although Schumann’s Three Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73, for clarinet and piano are most often played on the cello, clarinetist Gary Gorczyca and pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit delivered the set in its original form. Unlike the composer’s Fantasy Pieces for solo piano, these are mood pieces with no titles. The performers painted a tone-picture of sweet melancholy in the first (“Tenderly and with expression”) evoking Schumann’s introspective and dreamy alter ego Eusebius. In the second (“Lively, light”) Gorczyca and Chang-Freiheit enjoyed the contrast between the outer sections and the central one: the former alternated between surging ahead and reflection while the latter’s playful triplets, delightfully passed back and forth between the two instruments, cast care aside. The closing section (Fast and fiery) was in the mode of Schumann’s other alter ego, Florestan: passionate and outgoing. Though the piece presents many challenges to cohesive ensemble (phrases beginning off the beat with clarinet starting ahead of the piano), the artists smoothly surmounted them all and shone particularly in the brilliant accelerando of the coda.


April 24, 2017

GERALD FINZI "Five Bagatelles" for Clarinet and Piano

Performed by Clarinetist Gary Gorczyca and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit


Finzi’s Five Bagatelles for clarinet and piano, Op. 23 certainly stands as one of the highlights of the clarinet repertoire. He penned these charming pieces in 1941 prior to his service in the Ministry of War Transport in London during World War II. The first four debuted at one of the famous lunchtime concerts at the National Gallery. Finzi’s publisher, Boosey and Hawkes, however, requested a finale in a fast tempo. The Bagatelles became the composer’s most popular work, which annoyed him as he considered them mere “trifles.” Clarinetist Gary Gorczyca and pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit found much charm and beauty in their felicitous introduction to these rather irresistible mere bagatelles.


May 22, 2016

OLIVIER MESSAIEN “Chants de terre et de ciel”

Performed by Soprano Mary Mackenzie and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit


Mary Mackenzie sang Olivier Messiaen’s Chants de terre et de ciel for soprano & piano from memory with near-perfect success. Throughout the half-hour cycle reveling over the French composer’s faith, his wife and son, focus really remained steadfast on Mackenzie and Chang-Freiheit. Both musicians shouldered the unmistakable language of Messiaen. Mackenzie produced an amazing array of color, something Messaien, who beholds the interval of the tritone as replicating all the colors of the spectrum, would surely have to admire.


All in all, it was less a spiritual voyage à la Messaien than a clear display of fascinating vocal timbres. When Mackenzie was in lower register or in lower volume anywhere in her vast range, she was most compelling and surprisingly alluring. Chang-Freiheit toned down to excellent effect the percussive nature of Messiaen’s piano writing, bringing to it a gorgeousness and robustness. This duo had you listening all the time.

THE BOSTON GLOBE, David Weiniger

March 30, 2015

GEORGE CRUMB “Apparition”

Performed by Soprano Mary Mackenzie and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

“…the performance, by soprano Mary Mackenzie and pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit, was sensational, a fact the audience clearly appreciated.”



March 30, 2015

GEORGE CRUMB “Apparition”

Perfomed by Soprano Mary Mackenzie and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

The musicians ranged brilliantly over a huge spectrum, from intense emotional outcry… to literal whispers and sprechstimme, from percussive piano passagework to barely audible brushed harp effects… This memorable performance was evocative, cathartic, and simply ravishing; at the conclusion the spellbound audience hardly moved a muscle for nearly half a minute before applauding wholeheartedly.


 "Brilliance from Two Chameleons" March 9, 2015

JOHANN STRAUSS OPUS 6 Sonata for Cello and Piano

ELLIOT CARTER 1948 Sonata for Cello and Piano


BEETHOVEN Sonata in A Major for Cello and Piano

Performed by Cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

Now in its 17th season, Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston has just introduced cabaret-type concerts, called “Up Close.” The first, last Sunday afternoon at the Goethe-Institut Boston, one of their usual venues, featured the brilliant, peripatetic cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer with the equally brilliant pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit. Seated around 20 small tables with the instrumentalists in the middle, 80 attendees were treated to a most memorable performance, also wine and chameleon-shaped cookies baked by Artistic Director Deborah Boldin. Before the afternoon’s four pieces, Boldin spoke briefly, illustrating with short excerpts, to explain how she put the program together and to have us see how the cello became a breakout instrument over the years.

Having won awards for her illuminating programming, Boldin put together works for cello and piano by Richard Strauss, Elliott Carter, Frank Bridge, and Beethoven. I had not heard the first three, but off-the-beaten-path pieces on Chameleon programs are the norm, and trust in Boldin’s programming is always richly rewarded.


Written in 1881, completely revised and then published a couple years later, when Strauss was 19, the difficult Opus 6 Sonata features piano with an orchestral sound that throughout the afternoon was a perfect partner for Popper-Keizer. The doleful, almost funereal second movement was a revelation of gorgeous, soulful cello playing. One doesn’t think of Richard Strauss as a composer of string sonatas, but the writing here seemed unusually idiomatic, at least for cello. The third movement, Allegro vivo, hints at the mischief to come in Don Juan and Til Eulenspiegel.

Elliot Carter’s 1948 Sonata for Cello and Piano has become part of the repertoire. While Boldin reminded us that Carter composed 60 works after the age of 90 (he died shortly before he was 104), as a young man he wrote “for the public” in a neoclassic style favored by teacher Nadia Boulanger, but no one seemed interested. So he decided to simply write for himself. She also briefly—no small trick—explained his metric/speed modulations, and how in this Sonata he tries to pry the two instruments apart, assigning “chronometric time” to the piano and “psychological time” to the cello. Carter wrote it when was a young man of 40.

After the brief talk and musical illustration, the two stars treated us to a thrilling performance, which managed to make sensible, often captivating music out of this complex score. Sometimes, the cello and piano battling it out for aural prominence with their very different attacks and rhythms, it felt like sitting at a conservatory in front of two practice rooms whose connecting wall had collapsed. Chang-Freiheit deserves extra applause for navigating the shoals of a knotty piano part, but a huge bravo to both.

Following intermission, the duo played Elégie by Frank Bridge. Written in 1904, it resembles, unsurprisingly, Fauré’s popular Élégie for the same pairing, from 1883. The audience (and I) loved the piece in this dazzling performance.

The best came last, Beethoven’s Sonata in A Major, a perennial favorite. Gabriel Langfur’s informative notes reminded us that this sonata’s sketches appeared about the same time as those for the Fifth Symphony, that the master’s middle period was extraordinary even for Beethoven, with the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the Choral Fantasy, the Fourth Piano Concerto, and the Opus 70 Piano Trios. The performance by the duo was absolutely wonderful, even to someone familiar with every famous recording of Opus 69.


I have raved many times in these pages about Popper-Keizer’s cello playing, and urge anyone who has not heard him, or pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit, to attend the next Chameleon concert, March 28th and 29th. The next “Up Close” will feature two Chameleon pianists, Gloria Chien and Elizabeth Schumann, in a program of four-hand works by Debussy, Steven Stucky, Schubert, and Stravinsky (Rite of Spring) on April 19th.



March 26, 2014


Performed by Soprano Rachel Calloway, Violinist Tessa Lark and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit


“Lark’s tonally sweet entrance, and the remarkable shimmer of Vivian Chang-Freiheit’s accompaniment perfectly set the atmospheric elements of this piece.”

JOHANNES BRAHMS Sonata No. 1 in f minor for clarinet and piano

Performed by Clarinetist Gary Gorczyca and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

“Chang-Freiheit’s piano playing was soulful, passionate, playful, delicate, and her sense of ensemble brilliant.”




April 7, 2013



Performed by Violinist Jesse Mills, Cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer, and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

Mills and Popper-Keizer teamed up with pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit for an equally sharp rendering of the Trio in D Minor, Op.3….

The Symphonic grandeur of the three-movement trio featured the musicians in expansive dialogue. The strings, throughout, put across the colorful score with a creamy, yearning sound. Chang-Freiheit answered with deliberate touch and pearly tone.


WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Quintet in E-Flat Major for piano and winds, K. 452

Performed by Oboist Nancy Dimock, Clarinetist Kelli O’Conner, Bassoonist Margaret Phillips, French Hornist Whitacre Hill


“It was a special treat to hear Chang-Freiheit… in an elegant reading of Mozart’s Quintet. The winds achieved a sweet ensemble blend in the outer movements to match Chang-Freiheit’s august playing.”


THE BOSTON GLOBE, Matthew Guerrieri

May 28, 2008


KEVIN PUTS “Ritual Protocol”

Performed by Marimba Soloist William Manley and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit


Seven is an important number in Kevin Puts's vibrant "Ritual Protocol" (dating, like the ensemble, from 1998), be it the seven slow steps of the chorale at the piece's center, or the pulsing seven-beat pattern underpinning much of the finale; Chang-Freiheit and marimba soloist William Manley gave a finely shaded, persuasive reading of the music, which borrows freely from populist tonality and minimalism without coming off as beholden to either.

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