2 recitals today, Friday celebrate end of Piano Program’s summer

Students in the School of Music Piano Program take pause from rehearsals Tuesday outside Sherwood Marsh Studios. Carrie Legg/Staff Photographer

Zoe Kolenovsky
Staff writer

Sherwood Marsh Studios will be filled with students of the School of Music’s Piano Program this afternoon as they present the first of two recitals to celebrate the approaching end of this summer’s programming.

Chautauquans can attend the recital at 4 p.m. today in Sherwood Marsh 101 which will showcase the talents of 12 of the program’s 20 students.

“It’s just fun,” said Nikki Melville, chair of the Piano Program. “The kids have worked really, really hard all summer.”

This performance comes on the heels of last Sunday’s major showcase in the Amphitheater, which Melville lauded as a success for the program.

“The students played extraordinarily well,” she said. “There was a great crowd and a standing ovation at the end for everybody.”

The performances today and Friday afternoon will be Chautauquans’ final opportunity to see this year’s group of students in concert together, though a few of them will be performing in the first installment of this weekend’s chamber music concert series, taking place at 6 p.m. this evening in Fletcher Music Hall.

Melville said she took note of how close and supportive this year’s students are among one another.

“For me, that’s when growth happens,” she said, “when students have the support and courage to sort of try something new, rather than feeling bound to one specific point of view or pleasing one specific person.”

The 90-minute recital will feature the talents of Chelsea Ahn, Saehyun Park, Son Duong, Junhao Wang, Gabriel Landstedt, Xiaowen Xu, Peizhang Wu, Siyuan Zhang, Chin Nukulvutthiopas, Zhenyi Long, Jonathan Mamora and Peijun Wang. 

They will be performing a selection of solo and duo pieces meant to highlight their technical skills, while also exciting the audience.

“I want to say thank you to Nikki for coordinating everything,” Park said. “I liked that we have such an outstanding faculty and have a chance to know them. Meeting with guest faculty members motivated me greatly, and I learned so many things.”

In addition to working with Melville and fellow resident faculty member J.Y. Song, the students have been coached by the five world-renowned pianists invited by the Piano Program to serve as guest faculty members. Featured Alumnus Alvin Zhu and Artist-in-Residence Alexander Gavrylyuk also had a chance to work with the students this summer through private lessons and master classes.

For this afternoon’s recital, Park will be collaborating with Ahn in a rendition of French composer Camille Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre, a piece that Melville believes will be very familiar to people.

Among other captivating compositions, the program will include a medley of songs from films by the widely-beloved Japanese anime company, Studio Ghibli.

“It’s just a real variety of things … it sort of runs the gamut,” said Melville of the program’s variety.

“I think the structure of the program encourages them to just try something different, something new, something courageous,” she said. “They know that no matter what happens, they will have a whole bunch of people there supporting them and applauding them for their efforts. So to me, that’s really what a summer festival should be.”


The author Zoe Kolenovsky