Dr. Eric Fung Brings Global Perspective to LVC Music Students
Dr. Eric Fung, associate professor of music, is one of the many faculty members that connect Lebanon Valley College students to the international community through their diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Fung cites himself as a proud beneficiary of global opportunities from a young age. He received his primary and secondary education in Hong Kong under an instructor from London, followed by studies at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School under Russian pianists.
“I had classmates from Korea, Japan, China, Macau, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, France, Germany, England, Russia, Peru, and the U.S. Everyone I met brought something different to the table,” recalls Fung.
The connections that Fung made with fellow students and faculty mentors while pursuing his doctor of musical arts (DMA) degree provided him with a number of global opportunities later in his career. He was able to pursue two of these this past August by performing at the Puigcerdà Music Festival in Puigcerdà, Spain, and teaching at the National Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria.
“I first performed at the Puigcerdà Music Festival when I was working on my DMA at the Juilliard School, and it was an honor for them to invite me back after many years,” says Fung. “I heard a lot of inspiring teaching and performances while there by professors from China, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States, as well as students from China, Korea, Germany, Mexico, and Spain.”
He further explained the connection that led him to teach at the National Academy of Music, which stemmed from a mutual appreciation for the work of Johann Sebastian Bach: “I met a student from Bulgaria at another festival many years ago who I have stayed in touch with. Last year, he came to the States and I coached him on a set of music that he played at the J.S. Bach Competition in Saarbrucken, Germany, where he won second prize. Since the student knew that I was going to be in Europe for a week, he arranged, with the help of his professor, Borislava Taneva, this opportunity for me to teach several lessons at the academy in Sofia. Though intensive and taxing, it was really fun helping the students see the magic beyond the notes and to attain artistic performance.”
Fung strives to see his students at the College achieve this same level of understanding and refinement, in addition to developing appropriate teaching techniques for all skill levels. For Fung, this signifies utilizing a variety of different means to establish basic and healthy techniques in his beginning level students, while assisting more advanced students in interpreting music beyond the notes on the page.
“We help them to understand styles and show them different tone colors from the instrument, and while there are multiple ways to describe basic pianistic techniques, there are yet many, many more ways to interpret a single piece of music,” he elaborates.
Despite his impressive experience in the field, Fung works to continue learning and refining his craft as both a musician and educator through classes and performances.
“I attend a number of master classes, and listen and observe attentively how other artists and teachers explain musical and technical concepts in ways other than my own, so that I can broaden my teaching vocabulary,” says Fung.
Fung has performed across the United States, Europe, and Asia, and will play an all-Bach program in Jerusalem, Israel, in the near future. Students will be able to gain insight into yet another region of the global musical community through Fung’s diverse perspective.