Piano Recital and Masterclass Featuring Marc Peloquin

Guest piano recital and masterclass that featured guest pianist Marc Peloquin provided an entertainment to the audience and an opportunity to improve for student pianists last Friday in the Timken Room of Graves Hall.

Recognized as a “first rate” pianist for his creative music making, Peloquin has received the praise from many musicians and audiences alike. His creative programs involve compiling music of different styles from varying periods with common themes.

Peloquin began the recital with strong, swift notes, as he played Robert Schumann’s “Novelette No. 1, Op. 21.” The piece consisted of a powerful and moderately fast melody that set contrast with the gentle notes.

The intensity of Peloquin’s playing reached its climax towards the end as the piece ended with a reverberating sound that lingered in the room.

David Del Tredici’s “Farewell, R.W.” followed the first piece. The music had a slower and more melancholy feel that set a contrast with the first composition.

Peloquin drew an appreciative laugh from the audience with his informative yet entertaining explanation of the pieces he performed.

The highlight of the recital was Peloquin’s performance of Frederic Rzewski’s “Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues.” In the piece, Peloquin produced a range of fast clashing notes that impressed the audience.

When his fast-moving fingers came to a stop and the echo of the last note had faded away, the audience all had stood up and gave Peloquin an enthusiastic applause.

Immediately following his performance was a masterclass during which Peloquin listened to each student perform his or her piece and provided helpful tips on how to improve certain parts.

During Peloquin’s masterclass, four Andover students Lauren Kim ’13, Nathan Sheng ’14, Paul Noh ’12 and Seho Young ’15 respectively performed “Rhapsody in G minor Op. 79 No. 2” by Johannes Brahms, “Un Sospiro Etude from Three Etudes” by Franz Liszt, “Transcendental Etude No. 5, Feux Follets” by Liszt and “Moment Musicaux Op. 16 No. 4 in E minor” by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Enhancing the evening’s event, Peloquin interacted directly with the audience by asking questions on the students’ pieces and discussing the different composers and their styles.

Peloquin’s step-by-step help on different sections of the composition, along with his explanation on how “poetic” or “romanticized” a certain section has to be, helped enhance the students’ performances.

At the end of the recital and masterclass, the room was again filled with a loud applause and a gift was presented to Peloquin for the generosity of giving a great opportunity for the Andover community.

After the concert, Peloquin said, “I love coming here, this is my fourth year coming to Andover with my daughter, Samantha [Peloquin ’12], and I wanted to make a contribution to the school by sharing my music and experiencing some of the music making of the students.”

“The pieces that I selected… I wanted to choose music that meant something to me, and I wanted to explain to people why this music is meaningful to me. So, I’m not just playing a piece, but I’m sharing a part of myself. My theme sort of became great composers who were also great pianists,” said Peloquin.

Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music, said, “Mr. Peloquin has very generously given us this concert and masterclass, and we are very lucky to have him. He is a wonderful pianist and he does a lot with contemporary music, as well as giving an opportunity for some wonderful students here to have a great chance to receive some high level instruction.”

Young, one of the student pianist who was part of the masterclass recital, said, “The concert was a great opportunity to express my emotions and Mr. Peloquin is a legendary guy, so I think it was really cool.”

The audience members also found Peloquin’s recital and masterclass very engaging and helpful.

Mari Funabashi ’13 said, “What was great about the concert was that although it was a relatively small range of composers, it had such a variety of music and interpretations. It’s really what the piano is all about.”

“The musicians played extremely well and each of them brought their own style. Mr. Peloquin was an excellent teacher,” said Kailash Sundaram ’15.