Posts Tagged ‘student recital’

Ambitious Student Piano & Bass Recital

April 9, 2011

Arik performed "China Gate"

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Last night, April 8, in the midst of a spring snowfall, the Idyllwild Arts Junior Music Recitals went on without a hitch featuring classical, contemporary and student composers. Arik and Josephine performed at the Stephens Recital Hall before a 50+ audience made up of fellow students, friends and a few local folks.

Arik, a piano student from Maui, performed four selections from Liszt, Hayden, John Adams and himself.  This is the third time Arik’s own musical composition, “Cain’s Lament,” was performed before a live audience. The first time was in early March at the “Idyllwild Arts Day in L.A.,” the second was last month before a student audience, and last night at the recital.

“Cain’s Lament,” was one of four collaborations between students in the Honors Music Composition Class and the Creative Writing Department. Whitney, a creative writer and childhood friend of Arik’s, wrote the original poem that he set to music.

Arik described the piece as a bit “melancholy,” yet the right the mood that it called for.

“‘Cain’s Lament’ is not so much about Cain and Abel from the Bible, but more about the state of the world,” explained Kevin Michael Sullivan, the instructor for the Honors Music Composition Class, beforehand. “It’s saying that God is sad.”

Arik played “Cain’s Lament” as his third piece, after “Two Consolations in D Flat Major” by Liszt and “Tempo di Menuetto, Hob. XVI:22, No. 37” by Hayden. Samuel, a classical voice major, sang Whitney’s words to “Cain’s Lament,” while Arik played on piano.

“The end of the world is a decade too late,” was among some of the somber lyrics. Appropriate for the Idyllwild area, Whitney also used rabbit and raccoon images to convey strong her strong feelings. After the piece was over, Sam acknowledged Whitney in the audience.

Nelms McKelvain, Arik’s piano teacher, said that he chose the songs for Arik’s recital, except for the last one, “China Gates.”

Arik and his comp teacher, Kevin Sullivan

“He can play it without sheet music,” Nelms said. “In fact, he performed it for us without any music just yesterday. He memorized it bar-by-bar.”

Arik said that memorizing Adams’ “China Gates” was challenging at first.

“It’s about the gates in the Great Wall of China,” Arik explained. “Each ‘gate’ is a key change.”

He said that it was challenging to memorize. He had to memorize the notes with his left hand first, and then sight read with his right.

“Sometimes, I’d have to move my left hand off the key quickly because my right hand needed to play it right after,” Arik said.

Several people in the audience last night said that “China Gates” sounded like water or rainfall.

“Adams wrote about raindrops on the Great Wall of China,” Arik explained. “And within the rain, there’s a melody.”

Afterwards, Music Conductor Peter Askim and Nelms went backstage to congratulate Arik on a job well done.

“You did a nice job,” Peter said, noting that he’s come a long way on the piano in choosing “China Gates.”

“All of the ‘colors’ (of your selections) were different,” Peter said.

Later, Arik explained that ‘colors’ meant a nice choice of heavy and light music selections.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Apr 9, 2011 @ 12:17

Student Pianist to Perform on Valentine’s Night

February 13, 2011

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

Custom Search

‘Happy Hour’ with Flute and Trumpet

May 18, 2010

(from L) Yeon Jung & Young play a duet

Tonight, Monday, May 17, there was a “Happy Hour” starting at 7:30 p.m. at Idyllwild Arts. For nearly two hours, two classical music seniors, Yeon Jung, a flautist, and Yi Ling, a trumpter, gave one of the best performances of their young lives, and everyone who came, left happy.

Not only are they good friends, but both are going to the Boston Conservatory of Music in the fall.

First up was Yeon Jung, who wore a long, strapless black form-fitting gown. Her long hair was pulled back from her face, and she wore no jewelry. But, it didn’t matter, because her flute was golden.

Jacob, a saxophone player from the Jazz Department, said that her flute was made of gold, and that it had a rose-colored coating on top.

“That flute is really amazing,” he said. “And William got to play it.”

“That flute has a sweet sound,” said William, another flute player in the Idyllwild Student Orchestra. “I got to play it last week, and it creates a wonderful sound. You can definitely tell the difference.”

Yeon Jung could hit high C

To start, Yeon Jung played a short piece, “Sonate in E Minor, BMV 1034,” by Johann Sebestian Bach. Anni Cao, another music student, was her piano accompanist.

Yeon Jung played with her music stand and sheet music in front of her. Yet, when she played, she moved to the music. At times,  she would move closer to the music to clearly see the notes, then sway from side to side, enjoying the sound coming out of her instrument.

Yeon Jung’s second piece was longer, “Concerto,” by the French composer, Jacques Ibert. It was more intense than the first, with many scales up and down the register. In the “Allegro” part of Ibert’s “Concerto,” she hit a high C, and stood on her tippy toes to reach it.

Jacob, who also plays the flute, was impressed.

For her third piece, Yeon Jung played a duet with Young, a classical guitarist, who had his recital last week (see ‘A Night with the Young Masters’ blog from May 13, 2010). Young sat with his guitar, while Yeon Jung stood.

They played a short piece, “Bordel 1900,” History of the Tango, by Argentine composer Piazzolla. When Yeon Jung would play, Young would respond by playing a few notes, then tapping a beat on the outside of his guitar. It sounded more like a drum, yet had a nice, commanding effect.

The flute and guitar seemed natural together, and Young played soft as a good accompanist. Although it was a lively, short piece, it was memorable, especially the final note.

“She held it for a long time,” Jacob said, obviously impressed.

For anyone who has ever played the flute knows that its hard to do–because you’re blowing across a hole all the time. Yeon Jung had great lung control throughout her 45 minute recital tonight.

Yeon Jung’s final piece, “Suite of Three Pieces, Op. 116,” by B. Godard, was broken into three sections, allegretto, idylle, and valse. Naturally, living in Idyllwild, the “idylle” section interested me. It actually sounded like mountain music, with low notes and trilling that sounded like birds.

Yeon Jang's flute teacher came from Redlands

After her recital, two of her friends came forward with bouquets of flowers. Her flute teacher, who came all the way from Redlands, was complimentary, and posed for pictures.

After a brief intermission, it was Yi Ling’s turn. He was impressively dressed in a black suit that had ribbons around the lapels and pockets. His good friend and accompanist, was Ie-Seul, who also wore a black jacket and pants.

“Sonata in C,” was Yi-Ling’s first piece, by Purcell. It was short and a good warm-up. At the onset, you couldn’t help but notice the clear, confident sound coming from his trumpet.

For his second piece, Yi-Ling was accompanied by his trumpet teacher, David L. Scott, onstage.

Yi-Ling and his teacher, David Scott, play a duet

The two, with their silver trumpets, created such a loud sound, that those in the front row could feel their teeth rumble. Imagine playing next to them in an orchestra? Yet, their duet, “Concerto in C for Two Trumpets,” by Vivaldi, was so rewarding, that it was worth it. One would lead, then a half beat later, the other would follow.  They played clearly, and effortlessly, like two seasoned musicians.

For his third piece, Yi Ling played, “Sonata for Trumpet and Piano,” by Kent Kennan. But before he played, Yi Ling spoke for the first time.

“I’d like to thank you all for coming,” he said shyly, then thanked his trumpet teacher, his friends, family, accompanist, and even his van driver, Ron St. Pierre, for taking him to music lessons.

“I’d like to thank my teacher, David Scott, for 4 1/2 years,” Yi-Ling said. “It’s really been an honor.”

After all of his thanks, Yi-Ling got a little choked up and teary eyed before he began his next piece. Perhaps the fact that he was going to graduate in less than three weeks was starting to hit him.

(from L) Ie-Seul on piano and Yi-Ling on trumpet were a commanding duo

For his “Sonata for Trumpet and Piano,” Yi-Ling placed three trumpet mutes on the stand next to him.

“They’re straight, harmon and tap,” Jacob offered. He knew about trumpet mutes because his good friend at school, Caleb, is a jazz trumpeter.

Not only did Yi-Ling have to play a long, complicated piece, but he had to add the mutes at different times. Each mute created a different sound.

The mute that Yi-Ling used on his last piece, “Trumpet Concerto in A Flat Major,” sounded the best. In fact, this piece, created by Arutunian, was Yi-Ling’s commanding finale. He spoke again.

“This is the perfect piece to express myself,” he told the audience of classmates, faculty and friends. “It’s a good piece to end my recital because I’ve learned new things, and grown up a little bit. Thanks again for coming.”

“What a sweet guy to thank us for coming to his recital,” Mariya, a bassist, said.

The concerto, was a workout for the Ie-Seul, the pianist, too. But it wasn’t beyond her realm.

“That pianist was a student?” Ron St. Clair, Yi-Ling’s driver, asked later. “I thought she was a teacher. Wow.”

Towards the end of the piece, Yi-Ling added one of his mutes, and Ie-Seul stopped playing all together. All alone, Yi-Ling and his trumpet sounded like Miles Davis playing “Sketches of Spain.”

“Him playing alone was a nice effect,” said Karin Obermeyer, a literature teacher at Idyllwild Arts, who attends most of the recitals.

Ie-Seul came back briefly for the finale, which ended sooner than we all wanted that night. After his final note, everyone got to their feet.

When Yi-Ling thanked his teacher and hugged him afterwards, the emotions began to flow. Shi-Shi, a violinist, who came to the recital, began to cry.

Ie-Seul, who was the piano accompanist for nine of her friends, also felt the finality. “This is my last recital where I was an accompanist,” she said.

You would think that she’d feel relief, instead of tears. She wiped them away and smiled. Just like everyone who left the recital that evening. Another musical performance well done.

More senior recitals are forthcoming until the end of the month. Visit, and hit “Academy,” and then “Center Stage,” for details, or call (951) 659-2171.

Custom Search