Five Academy piano students showcased their talents in a recital at Carnegie Hall, one of the world’s historic performing arts venues, on Saturday, October 5. The Dream Trio, formed by faculty artists and Mason alumni Mr. Zachary Whitaker, Ms. Faith Zuniga, and Anna Kong, also made a special appearance in the program.
“The students played at a very high level and made us teachers really proud!” said Mr. Misha Tumanov, piano teaching artist. “They were super excited about performing at such a prestigious venue.”
“A recital in an important venue like Carnegie Hall is beneficial to students,” said Ms. Zuniga, piano teaching artist. “Because it rewards them for their hard work and dedication to excellence and encourages them to continue practicing diligently!”
Mr. Tumanov and Ms. Zuniga received the recital invitation from their alma mater, the Instituto Superior de Artes. They quickly realized that this would be a perfect opportunity for the Academy students. Based on the piano instructors’ recommendations, Ella, Mara, Anna, Andrew, and Dylan were selected to participate in the recital along with other dozens of young performers from Costa Rica.
In addition to the students’ performances, the Dream Trio presented a selection of chamber music including the last movement of “Smetana’s Piano Trio in G Minor, op. 15” and hoped to inspire the young musicians to continually elevate their solo performance skills and explore the beautiful sound of music through many styles and genres of music performance.
Before the concert, students spent endless hours polishing their repertoires with their instructors at the Academy. “For a big performance like this,” said Ms. Michelle Richardson, teaching artist of piano. “It is crucial to have lived with a piece for many months and to have multiple build-up performances.”
Ms. Richardson added that preparing for a formal recital requires continually reexamine the piece as it is new repertoire and going deeper and deeper as the performer crafts an interpretation.
“The rediscovery of your piece keeps the memorization clear and the emotions in the performance fresh,” said Ms. Richardson. “I tell my students that we all get nervous, even the best performers, and the key is to use the nerves in a musical way to help keep your focus and energy through the performance.”
The music faculty plans to provide more performance opportunities for our private lesson students and participants of the Vivace Intensive Program. “Traditionally, this has been a piano-only recital,” said Mr. Tumanov. “But we’re looking into having other instruments perform as well. We hope to have a bigger delegation from the Academy next year.”