Piano master class with the acclaimed pianist Dr. Irene Peery-Fox

Tiffany Lu (L) receives a constructive critique and was given advice about her musical piece from Dr. Irene (R) in the master class. (Don Congjuico)

Don Congjuico

Saddleback College was greeted by a very accomplished pianist Dr. Irene Peery-Fox last Saturday, Oct. 27. Peery-Fox taught a piano master class to some students who she presented advice and skills from her rich background experience of the musical arts.

Peery-Fox is an alumni from Juilliard and earned her doctoral degree at the John Hopkins University. She studied under Leon Fleisher who was considered a child prodigy in the piano arts who studied under Theodor Leschetzky, a pupil of Carl Czerny, who in turn studied with Ludwig van Beethoven.

The master class is part of a series of events known as ROCKS (Reflections of the Ocean Classical Keyboard Series) for the year 2012 – 2013.

Intricate and complex musical pieces were brought to life by the talented students who had participated in the master class. After playing, they would be given specific instructions from Peery-Fox on how to improve with their particular style.

Justin Douglas, 18, from San Juan Hills said that her advice on his work was “very instructive.”

“I learned a lot about the piece (that) I did not know about before,” Douglas said. “(Her) advice was very easy to comprehend (and) she makes very good points.”

Justin was one of the pianists to be graced with Peery-Fox’s instruction during this master class. Justin was the fifth pianist player and played “Ginastera Creole Dance” (from 12 American Preludes). His piece lasted 7 minutes but was extremely complex and lively.

Peery-Fox often gestured out to the crowd of mostly piano teachers. She would name something very particular in terms of how a certain topic is taught and would garner a slight chuckle from the more experienced people in the crowd. She clearly knows what she’s talking about.

Tiffany Lu, 14, from Northern High in Irvine was also one of the performers for the master class.

She played the very eloquent work of  J.S. Bach titled “Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue Intermezzo”. Being so young, she garnered great applause after her piece and was commended for her talent by Peery-Fox.

“I really enjoyed it. It’s so awesome to have someone else’s point of view and for that someone else to be Professor Irene,” Lu said. “Her advice is very concise and I think it will be very important. Some of the things she pointed out was things I never thought about and I think it will be something I will do in the future.”

Leon Fleisher profile


Irene Peery-Fox profile


Dr. Irene (R) is showing Justin (L) different techniques and demonstrating them to the class while giving him a sound critique about his art of playing the piano. (Don Congjuico)