Advanced piano student Dan Kwak playing Rachmaninoff Prelude in C sharp minor (Sasha Baharestani/Lariat).
The advanced piano department concluded the year with a piano recital that took place Saturday in the Fine Arts Complex. Advanced piano students performed works from Chopin to Brahms to Rachmaninoff and more.
Kirill Gliadkovsky, head of the piano department and director of keyboard studies at Saddleback College, was the performance coordinator.
“He makes such good analogies for you to understand what the music is supposed to be about, how you should interpret the music, why it should be interpreted this way, and he gives you analogies in order for you to use your piano technique in order to get the interpretation out,” said advanced piano student Dan Kwak. “Piano is so complex and intricate that there’s so much that you can gain from, and his brain is like a library for classical works, so everything that he is and everything that he talks about is really useful.”
One of the classes featured in the recital was the advanced piano class, which is considered more of a “master class” or rather a workshop course. The course takes a more individual approach to learning, while carefully examining piano literature, analysing style, technique and interpretation.
The other class that was featured was the piano ensemble class. This class more focused on a group performance atmosphere where students play duets, trios and quartets. Some pieces included 2 hands to 8 hands with an ensemble of 4 on two pianos.
“It enables you to be a better musician because you can coordinate with other people, which is a totally different skill set than just playing a solo piece” said piano ensemble student Heidi Stedman.
Each student had different reasons for taking the class, but the majority of those enrolled in either class and sometimes both, were music majors. An example of these students is Emily Wood, who as a music major, took both classes this semester, and is now getting ready to transfer into Concordia this fall as a piano major.
“My piano skills have really grown; it’s really challenged me,” Wood said. “Piano ensemble has helped me with coordination, working with people, organization, it’s been really helpful in a lot of different ways.”
The recital ended with a high energy final piece, “Fantasy on Themes” from Carmen, arranged for two pianos and eight hands.
Through the completion of the recital marked the completion of the year for some who plan to transfer. For others such as Susanna Denton and Valerie Radlick however, who have been playing at Saddleback since the 70s, it was a completion of their time playing together and moving on to the next step in each of their lives.