Vanessa Yu
CBC Music 30 Under 30
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Updated Mar 2023



Named one of CBC Music's top 30 emerging musicians under 30, Toronto-based pianist Vanessa Yu is establishing herself as a sensitive and vibrant musician. As the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 Pacific Rim International Music Festival, she was invited to perform at Carnegie’s Weill Hall in New York City.

Vanessa has presented solo and chamber programs for series including the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Generation Artist Celebration, Confluence Concerts, and Thursdays at Noon at the University of Toronto. Most recently, Vanessa gave solo recitals for the International Holland Music Sessions in the Netherlands and the Nine Sparrows Arts Foundation in Canada. Other performances have taken her to Italy, Germany, the United States, and across Canada to venues including the Pyatt Hall of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall in Calgary. In 2023, she will be performing for the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto and the Musical Mosaic series at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, among others. Vanessa has had recordings nationally broadcasted on CBC Music, in addition to being featured on OMNI Television and 680 News.

During the 2021/22 season, Vanessa performed concertos with the North York Concert, Kindred Spirits, and Burlington Symphony orchestras. She opened the York Symphony Orchestra’s first post-pandemic season with a performance of Beethoven’s First Concerto that received a standing ovation. Vanessa will also be soloing with the Central Texas Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Concert Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, and Odin Quartet in 2023/24.

Garnering awards in Canada and beyond, Vanessa has received top prizes at the Chicago, Città di San Donà di Piave, Elevato, and Aegio international competitions, as well as the Steinway, CMC national, and OMFA provincial competitions. Recently, she was the youngest contestant and prizewinner at both the 2023 Ann & Charles Eisemann International Young Artists Competition and the 2022 Thousand Islands International Piano Competition.

Vanessa is currently a third-year BMusPerf student at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Enrico Elisi and Steven Philcox. She is a recipient of the Alice and Armen Matheson full scholarship and U of T Scholar Award. Vanessa previously studied with Michael Berkovsky and Victoria Gimelshtein, and has played in masterclasses for internationally renowned musicians including Julian Martin, Boris Slutsky, Jerome Lowenthal, John Perry, and Jonathan Biss. Inspired by her mentors, Vanessa enjoys teaching; her students have won awards at competitions including the OMFA Provincials, Unionville Music Competition, and North York Music Festival.

Passionate about design, Vanessa is also a calligrapher and bullet journalist, and has taught workshops for partners including Google.