Student Pianist to Perform on Valentine’s Night

Timmy will host his senior recital on Valentine's Eve

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Looking for a special way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Consider bringing your loved one to a free student piano recital at the Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Tianpeng, known as “Timmy,” at Idyllwild Arts, will host his senior piano recital on Monday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Stephens Recital Hall on campus.

You may remember Timmy as the winner (classical instrumental) of the 21st Annual Music Center Spotlight Awards two years ago. As a sophomore, he beat out 2,000 other high school student musicians from Southern California. In addition to prize money and a summer internship, Timmy performed before a large crowd at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.

In a close up video for the Spotlight Awards, Timmy talked about growing up in China, and how music grew into a bigger part of his life.

Nelms McKelvain, Timmy’s piano teacher, said that he had enormous music potential.

Timmy's senior recital poster on campus

“When you get a student as good as Timmy, it requires you to be the best possible teacher than you can ever be,” Nelms said. “Because you have a responsibility.”

“Music is a language that I can understand,” Timmy said in that same video. “And it understands me.”

During performances, Timmy is known for playing very soft and gentle. His fingers barely emit a sound from the keys. And then, suddenly, he is playing forcefully, thrusting his head and shoulders forward, hair in his eyes, as his fingers race across the keyboard. Needles to say, Timmy is an entertaining performer.

In fact, you can watch and hear Timmy play his 2009 Spotlight Performance on You Tube.  (Just “2009 Tianpeng Yu Performance” or “2009 Tianpeng Yu Up Close”).

On Valentine’s Eve, Timmy will play selections from some of his favorite composers, including Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, and Copeland. One can imagine that some of the selections will be romantic in nature.

Like all music recitals at Idyllwild Arts, Timmy’s Valentine’s Evening recital is free and open to the public. It starts at 7:30 p.m. sharp at Stephens Recital Hall off Apela Drive (at the end of Tollgate) on campus. For more information, call (951) 659-2171 or visit

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Feb 13, 2011 @ 23:09

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