Music brings love, care, and support to a community. Chloe Lewis discovered this truth while developing her passion for the piano.
Growing up, she enjoyed playing chamber music with her siblings, choreographing musicals, playing in her church’s worship band, or volunteering to help kids through music therapy.
“Music has always been a huge part of my life and my family’s life,” said Lewis, who began piano lessons at three years old with her grandmother, a classically trained pianist and avid music lover. “I really appreciated my grandma, who has inspired me to follow in her footsteps. I am also thankful for my older brother and my mom who have been amazing role models.”
In 2015, Lewis began taking private piano lessons with Academy Teaching Artist Michelle Richardson, where Lewis found a much deeper appreciation for her instrument. She also found her dream—to be a collaborative pianist, where she can work with other musicians in ensembles or accompany vocalists and instrumentalists.
“I have been so fortunate to have Chloe as a student,” said Ms. Richardson, director of the Piano Adventures and co-director of the Summer Piano Academy. She observed that for many piano students, one of the biggest challenges is to not get stuck with a mechanical style that focuses primarily on technique, but to move past that and truly create music.
“The most difficult job we have as piano teachers is to encourage a student to play the piano beyond its initial capabilities and get the piano to sing between the notes. This is where music is truly made. Chloe captured this potential and progressed through advanced repertoire,” she said.
Throughout Lewis’ time at the Academy, she challenged herself to accomplish her musical goals one lesson at a time. She also took advantage of many opportunities to connect with other young musicians and participated in programs including the Summer Music Chamber Intensive, Summer Piano Academy, Vivace! Music Enrichment, the Academy’s spring and fall recitals, and the Music Competition.
Beyond learning opportunities in the studio and classroom, Lewis’s volunteer work as a musician keeps her engaged in the local arts community. While at the Academy, she has devoted hundreds of hours as a teaching assistant and as a collaborative pianist, working with younger students at various piano programs and performing at outreach events such as Arts By George!, Mason ARC Conference, and the City of Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Festival.
“Chloe stepped above and beyond our piano lessons, accepting opportunities that stretched her as an accompanist and as a teacher,” Richardson added. “She volunteered to accompany in her community, learning the love of musical collaboration and chamber music. Additionally, she has been a tremendous help to me during summer piano camp weeks. I am so extremely grateful to her for all of those weeks when she was my piano camp assistant.”
We are proud to share that Lewis will be attending Shenandoah University Conservatory in the fall, where she will take her passion for piano, collaboration, and community to the next level.
It has been an unusual end to senior year for the Class of 2020, and Lewis said she is sad that she couldn’t have her solo senior recital and accompany other musicians in their recitals, concerts, and auditions. However, she has been cherishing her time with her family and playing the piano before leaving home for college, and she feels thankful for all the love and support from her family.
“My family has always been there for me. Their love for me, others, and music has made me strive to put my best foot forward and try to be a selfless, loving, and serving person,” said Lewis. Besides her family, she is also grateful to have Ms. Richardson as her piano instructor in the past seven years.
Lewis shared that Ms. Richardson has been an inspiration who encourages her to pursue her love for music. “She has not only been my teacher but also a mentor and somebody I have and will continue to look up to and respect.”