In the words of the legendary Russian pianist Lazar Berman, “Minna Re Shin and her great talent.” This versatile Canadian pianist has won enthusiasm for her diverse repertoire, ranging from Baroque to innovative contemporary works. The recipient of numerous awards, fellowships and grants, including those from Canada Council for the Arts, Le Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, and FACTOR (The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent On Records), she has excited and captured the hearts of audiences around the world with her virtuoso technique, mature artistry, stage personality and rare sensitivity. Critics have raved her performances as “intense,” “inspiring” and “powerful.”
Born in Montréal, Minna Re Shin began studying piano at the early age of six. Having completed her studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto with the highest honours, she received the A.R.C.T. (Associateship of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto) diploma, the gold medal and the Helen Tough Murray Scholarship. Before pursuing further musical training in Montréal, she studied at Temple University in Philadelphia on a full scholarship. At the age of 19, she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in solo performance at McGill University and graduated top of her class. Then at the same institution, she earned her Master of Music degree in solo performance with highest distinction. She also holds a Doctorate of Music in performance specializing in twentieth-century repertoire from Université de Montréal and a PhD in music theory with emphasis on nineteenth-century music from McGill University.
Among her achievements, Minna Re Shin has won numerous prizes in national and international competitions. She was first-prize winner in the piano category of the 1990 Montréal Symphony Orchestra Competition and the Canadian Music Competitions in 1980 and 1984. In 1988, she was awarded first prize in the piano category as well as the Grand Prize (among all of the instrumental categories) in the National Music Competition. As the laureate of the 1984 International Concertino Praga Competition, she was invited by the Czechoslovakian government to perform on a tour in that country. Furthermore, she was a winner of the 1985 International Stravinsky Competition.
Since her solo début at the age of 10 with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Mario Duschenes, Minna Re Shin has performed in Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia. She has received high praise as recitalist, chamber pianist, and soloist in concerts with major orchestras, such as the Montréal Chamber Orchestra, the chamber orchestra I Musici de Montréal, and the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières, and with distinguished conductors like Charles Dutoit, Timothy Vernon, and Jacques Lacombe. This dynamic artist has also been invited to perform in many festivals, including the Nordic Contemporary Music Festival held in Montréal where she premiered in Canada the Fourth Piano Concerto by the Finnish composer Mikko Heinio with the McGill Chamber Singers and the McGill Sinfonietta under the direction of Iwan Edwards, and recently the prestigious International Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt where she made her Austrian début. Appearances at various music conferences include the Music Theory Midwest Conference held in Minnesota and the Feminist Theory and Music 4 Conference held in Virginia, where she gave a lecture-recital presentation on Franz Liszt’s B-minor Sonata. Moreover, she has been invited to give master classes at major universities and specialized performing art schools in Canada, Australia and China.
Minna Re Shin has been actively involved with radio and television since her radio broadcast début at the age of 10, when her performing work was featured on Radio-Canada. Since then, many of her public performances have been aired throughout Canada on the Radio-Canada and CBC networks. She has also appeared as guest artist on several television programs, including the popular Québec program Réné Simard Variety Show in 1985. When she made her début appearance in China in 2002, her recital in Beijing was aired throughout that metropolis by the China Central Television Network.
Minna Re Shin’s début album devoted to Haydn piano sonatas on the ombú productions label has been released to great critical acclaim. Le Journal de Montréal hailed her as a “great performer with great sensitivity and intelligence.” Following the success of this recording, Shin has embarked on a multi-recording project with ombú. Her second solo album, Images & Ballades, which features works by the Canadian composers Alain Payette and Jean Coulthard, was released in the summer of 2007. Paroles et Musique wrote that “the pianist’s interpretation is impeccable; it was as if these two composers had lent her their pen.” Her third album (2008) on the DCM Classique label focuses on chamber music works by the French composer Georges Delerue.