I have so few memories of going to the Maryknoll Sisters' primary and secondary school in Happy Valley. Things really started for me when I got into the Vienna Academy to study piano. I'd decided quite young that I really wanted to be a pianist. My parents were very easy about it. So long as you didn't do too badly, they didn't mind what you did. They just didn't want to pressure us. You felt you could do whatever you imagined doing. I said I wanted to study music, and they said 'OK', and then I said I wanted to move to Vienna to do it, and they said 'OK' to that too. They both loved music, and we went to a lot of concerts from when I was very young. I still remember my father would listen to operatic music every night before we'd fall asleep. Before Vienna, I had just done a couple of hours' tuition some nights during the week with a tutor and an hour or two practice at night which I considered quite good - I never realised there was another way to study an instrument. Vienna was a big shock. I had a very hard start there, and I hadn't anticipated that. Culturally, of course, it was so different, but the language was also a big problem. I didn't know how to get back to where I lived or how to catch a bus anywhere. Daily life at the music school was so completely academic too. The main thing, though, was you focused totally on the music, and that's where I really learned how devoted I needed to be. There was a sense of: 'Oh, this is how you do it!' In Vienna, I got up, went into a room on my own, stayed there until lunch, and then went back in. I must have done about eight hours playing every day. I used to pass doors with other pupils playing so well and I'd say to myself: 'Oh, I am so far away from that.' So I'd go back determined to work even harder. Occasionally, I had other classes such as theory but mostly life was focused around the piano. As a pianist, you are rarely in company. When you are young, that isolation is not easy. Now, though, I realise what good training it all was. I learnt if I really wanted something, I had to work very hard. You have to persevere. One thing that hasn't stayed with me from my school life is friends. I haven't stayed in touch with anyone at all from my study years. If you're travelling so much and working on your own, you just lose touch. And you evolve; your life changes. As an artist, that's just something you have to accept. You develop this relationship, though, with your music teachers. One of my best teachers in Vienna was a concert pianist himself. I respected him so much. Being his student meant a lot and you had to audition just to get into his class. I was so pleased when I did. I intended to make music my life. But my parents sent my two brothers and me to Canada to immigrate. They followed later. It was another huge cultural shock and my brother ended up driving me from Toronto to Montreal to find a more European life that I could be comfortable in. I went to McGill University to study music performance. Later, I went on to New York for the cultural scene and to be closer to [the American composer] John Cage. I worked as a concert pianist and taught. Quite by chance one day, a friend, the Hong Kong artist Kwok Man Ho [aka The Frog King], turned up early one morning at my flat with 200 of his paintings and asked me if I would sell them for him. That suited me better than teaching and soon I was representing and exhibiting contemporary Chinese artists living abroad. Once that happened, I didn't have time to practise my music any more. Life became about one arts project after another. Curator and fine arts consultant Sabrina Fung curated last year's Hong Kong entry to the Venice Biennale. Her Venice Biennale Hong Kong Response Exhibition at the Museum of Art runs until March 5. She was talking to Amanda Watson.