Master Classes: Good for All

Trpceski-smOur visiting artists often give a master class while in town. Students benefit performing before an audience and receiving instruction from these renowned pianists. However, they are not the only ones who benefit; the audience also gains much. In addition to enjoying great music in an intimate setting, the audience hears the artist talk about his or her life and career, gains insights into the music and composer being studied, and watches in rapt attention as the artist helps students achieve new heights in their playing.

At our last master class in March, Lancaster-smSimon Trpčeski enthralled students and the audience with his energy, vivacity, and passion for the music, demonstrating at the piano, making gestures, and urging students to try various approaches. The performers in this master class were Alex Lancaster, playing Schubert’s Moment Musicale #1, Cassie Simpson playing Liszt’s Petrarch Sonnet #104, and Bryson Skaar playing Liszt’s Concert Etude: Forest Murmurs.

Skaar-smThere is another COPI master class coming up, and we’d love to see you there. Simpson-smJon Kimura Parker will give a master class on Saturday May 2 at 3:00 PM in Benton Hall Rm 303 on the OSU campus. Admission is free.

Kathryn Louderback, a piano major at OSU, will perform Two Pieces from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev, and Michael Gu, a 5th grader at Ashbrook Independent School, will perform Chopin Impromptu in A flat major and Prokofiev Etude, Op 2, no. 4.

Jon Kimura Parker Concert
Sunday May 3 at 4:00 PM
LaSells Stewart Center.
More info.  Buy Tickets.

Thanks to Havilah Green for these photos from Trpčeski’s master class.

~Bonnie Esbensen

First Love – the Accordion

Accordion DoodleUpcoming guest artist, Simon Trpčeski, declared in an interview for International Piano Magazine, May/June 2013 that his first love was the accordion, not the piano.

Trpčeski said that when he was 3 1/2 or 4 years old, his father gave him a small accordion on which he immediately began picking out melodies. Before long, he was playing and singing in folk festivals. When he was 7 years old, he entered a primary music school, but accordion lessons were not offered at this school.Trpčeski turned instead to the piano – an instrument, which at least had a keyboard like the accordion.

Fortunately,Trpčeski now loves the piano. He is a soloist and chamber musician known for the beauty of playing. He will perform a program of Brahms, Ravel, and Liszt on March 1st, 4:00 PM at LaSells Stewart Center. More info.

~Bonnie Esbensen

P.S. In addition to his performance on the Steinway Piano Series, Trpceski will give a Master Class on Monday, March 2. More info.

“Electrifying virtuosity, but no whiff of show-off. . . . Head plus heart, lots of heart.”
   ~Geoff Brown, The London Times

Prodigious Achievement

Prodigies are always fascinating. One wonders how they accomplish so much in such a short time. Next month we will have the rare opportunity to hear one such fascinating person, Conrad Tao, speak about his life at the piano and then perform in recital the next day.

TaoStudioConrad Tao, who will open our piano series this year, is only 20 years old, but already has a major performing career. In addition, he’s a well-respected composer. Last year, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra premiered Tao’s composition, The World Is Very Different Now, a piece commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Tao doesn’t confine himself to the concert hall. At age 19, he curated, produced and performed in the UNPLAY Festival in Brooklyn, which was a “critics pick” by Time Out New York and hailed by the New York Times for its “clever organization” and “endlessly engaging” performances.

No wonder Conrad Tao was selected by Forbes as one of “30 Most Influential People Under 30.”

There is more information about Tao’s concert and his informal talk on our webpage, including the program he will play and a short video. Explore. Enjoy.

~Bonnie Esbensen

Conrad Tao

Saturday, November 8, 1:00 PM
My Life at the Piano
Corvallis Public Library

Sunday, November 9, 4:00 PM
Piano Concert
LaSells Stewart Center

Building Community Through Music

In 2005, there was a community effort to raise money to purchase a concert grand piano for the auditorium in LaSells Stewart Center in Corvallis, Oregon.

Piano - spiralThis one-year effort – involving many, many small donations as well as a few larger ones – was so successful, there was enough money to purchase a 9-foot Steinway concert grand piano, build a special climate-controlled storage room for it backstage, and create a maintenance fund to cover repairs.

The community came together and took action for love of music. Out of that effort also arose the well-regarded Steinway Piano Series, which brought – and continues to bring – international concert pianists to Corvallis.

The Steinway Piano Series is one of many activities sponsored by Corvallis-OSU Piano International (COPI), whose mission is to bring people together through music. We are discovering that as people come together for our piano events and engage in the music, the feeling of community becomes stronger.

It’s really quite amazing what music – and one piano – can do for a community.

~Bonnie Esbensen