At 1 p.m. today in Fletcher Music Hall, finalists Evelyn Lam, Vincent Ip, David Brickle, Benjamin Goodman, Laura Spector and Felisien Ng will take to the stage for half an hour each to play a repertoire of their choice.
John Milbauer and Nicola “Nikki” Melville’s careers have taken them around the globe. Their work placed them in front of classrooms, in recording studios, and to places they said they never could have imagined.
“It helps that we all went to school together,” said piano maestro John Milbauer.
“I didn’t go to school with you,” said piano chair Rebecca Penneys. “I was your teacher.”
Penneys joins her prized pupils Milbauer, Nicola Melville, and Omri Shimron in the annual “2 Pianos, 8 Hands Extravaganza” on full display at 4 p.m. today in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall.
Nicola Melville looks to set the stage ablaze, which is something she has done in the past — quite literally.
“There’s this actual piece called ‘Piano Burning,’ and you set fire to a piano,” explained Melville, who is performing at the second faculty artist recital this year from 4 to 5:30 p.m. today in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall.
“We brought this woman who conceived this piece to campus, so that we gave it some academic teeth. It wasn’t kind of the excitement of ‘Woo, let’s burn stuff!’ It was more like, ‘What does this mean?’ and ‘What are we trying to prove by this sort of thing?’ ” she said. “And you would be amazed by how many people who were upset by this, mostly people who were not really connected to the piano at all. Other piano faculty that I knew — they didn’t care.”
The students in the Chautauqua School of Music’s Piano Program have shown an enormous amount of progress in the past five weeks. With the approach of the first round of the annual Piano Competition this Saturday, which is sure to turn up the burners under those piano benches, students are in need of a little laughter.