My second doctoral degree recital at The Juilliard School was on Monday, March 30, featuring Julian Schwarz (cello), Tracy Hsin-Mei Chang (soprano), Liz Lang (soprano), and Simon Michal (violin).

Richard Strauss:

Cello Sonata, Op. 6
Brentano-Lieder, Op. 68
Violin Sonata, Op. 18

Gabriel Fauré

Here is an excerpt from my first DMA degree recital at The Juilliard School, featuring the late music of Gabriel Fauré. I was joined by three wonderful musicians for this performance: Sofia Nowik (cello), Raquel Gonzalez (soprano), and Julia Glenn (violin).

Audio recording of the rest of the program (La Chanson d’Ève, Violin Sonata No. 2):

Spring 2013 News

Here are a few updates:

Performance Schedule has been updated.

Had a great time playing for Andrew Pramuk’s show last night – “For Whom is it Useful? Hanns Eisler in Revue”.

Tonight I will be performing as piano soloist with the Musica Nova contemporary music ensemble, directed by Brad Lubman, on the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Hans Abrahamsen. I had the privilege of meeting and playing for the composer yesterday, as he is currently doing a residency at Eastman. Tonight’s concert will feature his Märchenbilder, Winternacht, and the Piano Concerto.

Tomorrow afternoon I will be performing with another of my many wonderful colleagues, Melissa Fajardo, mezzo-soprano, for her Master of Music degree recital.

I also have the great honor of playing for world-renowned euphonium virtuoso Steven Mead on April 19th and 20th in Ithaca for the Northeast Regional Tuba & Euphonium Conference.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to my final performance at the Eastman School of Music in May – my instrumental collaborative degree recital. My good friend CheHo Lam will be joining me on Respighi’s Violin Sonata in B Minor and Fauré’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in E Minor – two of my favorite compositions of the genre. But between now and then I still have many more things to do, including a few more recitals, various other gigs, some teaching, my job as a church organist, and a paper that I should get back to writing now.

As for my post-graduation plans, I look forward to spending most of the summer at home in Oregon for once, before moving to New York City, where I will be entering the DMA program in Collaborative Piano at The Juilliard School. The Mail Tribune back home heard about my acceptance and kindly mentioned it today:

Fall News

Fall 2012 has surely been the busiest period of time for me yet. Fortunately, it’s also been a lot of fun so far. A few weeks of non-stop rehearsals – all day every day – are now culminating in what is becoming a period of non-stop performances. Lots of stuff to do… Here’s a list of things I’ve been involved in or have been meaning to share for a while:

Recent (and not-so-recent) News:

Ossia New Music launches new website:

[Switch~ Ensemble] launches new website:

“The Prismatic Debussy” Festival at Eastman:

Fellow Humpherys student Thomas Steigerwald plays the third Rachmaninoff piano concerto:

After performance of Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” arranged for flute, clarinet, and piano by Michael Webster; accompanied by dancers:
Jacqueline Cordova-Arrington (flute), Joseph Yungen (piano), Tiffany Valvo (clarinet), Keenan McKoy (dancer), Ainsley Kilgo (dancer)

MAW 2012

Now that I am back from Music Academy of the West, I suppose it’s time to update this thing. I realize that it might have been more interesting to have “checked in” during my time in Santa Barbara these last couple months, but as I have said on numerous occasions by now, the whole MAW experience felt like its own world, where it was tempting to think that the rest of my life was on “pause.” As self-centered as this idea is, I’m afraid I gave in to it, to a certain extent, and put off a number of things including phone calls, emails, and updating my website. At least I finally managed to bring myself to update my résumé and repertoire lists last week.

Whatever I choose to say about MAW is going to end up being a huge understatement, as it is very difficult to describe the combination of remarkable music-making, lessons, masterclasses, concerts, and interactions that comprised the eight-week program. To sum it up, it was a positive experience – not only was it great to live in the excessively beautiful Santa Barbara area for two months, but it was a real privilege to work with such an array of incredibly high-level musicians. Some of the concerts I attended are now embedded in my memory as some of the most powerful and exciting concert-going experiences in my life. I particularly enjoyed hearing the members of the faculty perform (especially Jonathan Feldman), as well as visiting artists such as Gil Shaham, and the Academy Festival Orchestra.

I learned a lot through my lessons with Jonathan, and took away some important tools to incorporate into my playing in the future. The time he spent working with me was extremely valuable, and I feel that I am a better musician now. I certainly hope for future opportunities to work with him.

Lesson on Beethoven Violin Sonata No. 8 with Jonathan. Koko Watanabe, violin. Photo courtesy of Natasha Kislenko.

Networking and developing connections with other people was one of my goals for the two-month period, and I feel that this was a success. Besides the faculty members that I met and worked with, and the colleagues with whom I collaborated musically, I made some great friends at MAW.

The other members of the Collaborative Piano studio are wonderful people as well as excellent musicians, and our group of eight could not have been a more perfect and harmonious combination of people – Jacob Coleman, Miles Fellenberg, Suyeon Kim, Yu Ra Kim, Doreen Lee, Luis Ortiz, Chorong Park, and myself. Our teachers – Jonathan Feldman, Hiromi Fukuda, Natasha Kislenko, and Margaret McDonald – helped make us feel like one big collaborative family.

The final concert of the program featured the Academy Festival Orchestra, conducted by James Gaffigan, who was absolutely fantastic. I played piano and celeste on Charles Ives’ Three Places In New England, which made up the first half of the program. The second half was Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, a great way to close the festival. During the rehearsals for the Ives, my friend Matous Michal – a Czech violinist studying at Juilliard under Glenn Dicterow – and I had the idea of attaching an American flag to the stick of the piano. I jokingly mentioned this idea to Maestro Gaffigan, who immediately responded, “DO IT!” We ended up attaching a smaller flag to the piano stick, which raised during an especially chaotic section during the second movement of the Ives, while Matous rose from his seat and waved a full-sized American flag on a stick above the orchestra. A review of the concert can be found HERE.

I am grateful and fortunate to have had this opportunity to work with such phenomenal musicians – there are so many that I could name, and so many that I wish I could have had more opportunities to play with. Fortunately, I am sure there will be plenty of chances in the future, as each of these experiences brings the members of our musical community closer together. I always find myself saying the ol’ “Wow what a small world” cliché, and am always realizing more and more how true that is.

Collabs: Miles Fellenberg, Yu Ra Kim, Doreen Lee, Joseph Yungen, Chorong Park, Luis Ortiz, Suyeon Kim, Jacob Coleman (not pictured)

Arnie & Chuck

Welp, it’s the end of Spring Semester, and things are starting to wind down a bit…maybe. I was fortunate to not have to play for too many juries this year – I only ended up with a handful, as well as a few recitals here and there. I’m playing some fun tunes over at the George Eastman House this coming Sunday with Tiffany Valvo (clarinet) and Anyango “Agah” Yarbo-Davenport (violin). Should be a fun show. We haven’t played together since Tiffany’s recital last fall, so it’s great to get back to work.

A lot has taken place since my last post. Aside from performances with Ossia, my violinists, and probably some other stuff I can’t think of right now, I performed two full recitals with my singer, Elizabeth Smith (soprano). The first recital was Elizabeth’s degree recital, and featured a variety of Spanish-inspired songs in French, German, English, and Spanish. The performance could not have gone better in my opinion, especially considering the fact that Elizabeth was coming down with a cold that day, and had a sore throat. This ended up causing a bit of anxiety over the next few days, because my degree recital was to be the following Monday, on which we were to perform an entirely different program together. On Thursday, Elizabeth had no voice at all – she couldn’t even talk. We were just about to postpone the recital, but miraculously she was able to sing the following morning at the dress rehearsal, so we decided to go for it.

Anyway, the recital ended up going quite successfully – there was a good turnout, especially because of the interest generated by the program: Arnold Schoenberg’s The Book of the Hanging Gardens and a group of Charles Ives songs. As far as we know, the Schoenberg had not been performed at Eastman in its entirety before, so many people were excited to hear it. The group of Ives songs was a lot of fun, although there were a few scary moments due to our somewhat sketchy preparation.

In other news, I’ll be making a quick trip back to Southern Oregon in a week to perform a solo recital at Southern Oregon University. I won’t be home for long this time though, as I’ll be flying right back to Rochester the following week to perform with Elizabeth in the Kneisel Lieder Competition. Here’s an article about my upcoming performance in Ashland (complete with a highly original pun): The Siskiyou.

As for the recording of my recent recital, I haven’t yet decided what songs I might want to upload to SoundCloud, so feel free to enjoy the video of the concert in the meantime:


Time for some vid’s

Today I finally took the time to process the video footage of my recent solo recital and upload a few clips to good ol’ YouTube.  It took quite a while, because I had to first transfer the DVD to my computer, and then convert the video file to one that was compatible with my video editing program, which resulted in the video quality being rather poor.  In any case, there’s not a whole lot to see…just some guy’s torso and head bobbing around at a piano.  At least the audio quality is decent, although a bit on the quiet side.

I’ve posted an excerpt below. More can be found HERE. Please enjoy!