IVC’s Piano Master Class is visited by guest artists

IVC music student Jamie Lee gets complimented by visiting artist, CSU Northridge’s Dr. Edward Francis. The Piano Master Class Series is an ongoing music workshop that gives IVC piano students the opportunity to work with visiting piano musicians. (Anibal Santos)

Anibal Santos

Inside the Irvine Valley College Performing Arts Center Music Hall, students displayed their skills for critique through the Piano Master Class Series, held at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Professional pianists and instructors, Dr. Edward Francis and Dr. Pei-Shan Lee from California State University, Northridge, were invited to the class to provide hands-on help and feedback to piano students.

“This is the first year we have had an official master class series. It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to able to perform and ask questions to the professors that they will be auditioning for and transferring to. It’s very helpful to have that connection between universities,” Music 59 instructor Susan Boettger said.

Five students from the Music 59 (Piano Performances and Ensemble) class had the opportunity to play and have visiting musicians evaluate their performance. The master class is designed to help piano students advance their skills through mentoring from visiting artists.

“We have been having guest artists for about three years now,” Boettger said.

The music performed included: “Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata, mrt,” “Chopin’s Ballade No. 1-2nd half,” “Liszt’s Rhapsody in C sharp minor,” “Ginastera’s Sonata No. 1″ and “Liszt’s Ballade No. 2-1st.”

Both Francis and Lee gave demonstrations to the students after observing their approach to the piano. The visiting artists went over pedal usage, speed, energy and also proper posture when playing.

After hearing Ha Young Kim play, Shen Lee said, “You are very brave, you have the passion, you have the drive and you have the music.”

The visiting artists explained how speed plays an important role in enjoying the music.

“It’s very important to go through the piece very slowly,” Francis said. “I think you could be a little bit more academic, thorough and scholarly. It can be done by analyzing it. It’s going to take 700 percent the effort to retrain that DNA, so it’s very important to learn that well in the beginning.”

“Rhapsody in C sharp minor” was played by IVC student Sam Kim, who was complimented on his intense playing approach to the keyboard.

Francis added in his critique how intense playing can work against the performer.

“We already talked about listening to the keyboard on the piano, so that you are not pushing it to its limit and sometimes you do,” Francis about Kim’s playing.

“They were very helpful and I think their advice will help me perform not just in sound, but better in general,” Westwood High School student Jamie Lee said after her performance of “Ginastera’s Sonata #1.”

Francis said that he enjoyed working on IVC’s campus and with the master class students.

“This is my first time on campus, it’s been a pleasure. It’s a beautiful campus with wonderful facilities. The students were excellent,” Francis said.

The next Piano Master Class will feature USC Emeritus piano instructor John Perry on Thursday, November 7 at 4 p.m inside the IVC PAC music hall. Admission is free.

Dr. Lee (right) reviews Angela Choi’s (left) piano playing skills while Dr. Francis (center) looks on. (Anibal Santos)

Dr. Edward Francis piano looks encourages music student Sam Kim. (Anibal Santos)

The Piano Master Class is held inside IVC’s Performance Arts Center’s Music Hall. (Anibal Santos)

Ashley Bui plays while Dr. Francis looks over her piano playing technique. (Anibal Santos)

Angela Choi listens to Dr. Pei-Shan Lee during the Piano Master Class. (Anibal Santos)

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