Piano Institute 2015 at Hertz Hall!

Photo of Seymour Lipscomb

The Piano Institute 2015: David Kim, Sezi Seskir, Andrew Willis, Hertz Hall, Sunday October 25, 10am–6pm including a  NOON CONCERT with Schumann, Chopin, Beethoven, and Brahms.

Calling all pianophiles! Hertz Hall hosts a full day of piano recitals, lectures, masterclasses, lessons, and discussion on Sunday October 25, featuring a noon concert recital on period instruments by exciting up-and-coming fortepianist David Hyun-su Kim, Turkish-born Schumann-and-Brahms specialist, Sezi Seskir of Bucknell University, and Andrew Willis of UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance, an eminent historian of the piano and leading authority of historical performance.

Their joint noon concert on Sunday includes Schumann’s piano cycle Carnaval, Chopin’s C-sharp-minor Prelude, op. 45, Brahms’s op. 116 Fantasien, op. 116 (1892), and Beethoven’s Fantasia, op. 77. This fabulous event is truly not to be missed! At 3pm, the performers will convene again in Hertz Hall to discuss “Historically-Informed Performance and Modern Musicianship,” “Musical Topoi in Brahms’ Late Piano Works,”
 and “The Baroque Fortepiano.” At 4:30pm that same afternoon, Andrew Willis has kindly offered to conduct a public masterclass featuring two senior music majors in UC Berkeley’s piano program, the talented James Lim and Theodora Serbanescu-Martin.

Due to generosity of our patrons, all events at The Piano Institute 2015 are FREE and open to the public.

The Piano Institute began four years ago when Suzanne Macahilig (alumna of the department, authority on Beethoven’s piano sonatas, and student of Seymour Lipkin) approached the music department to ask if we would be prepared to host a piano-related long weekend, for which she would do the hard work of fundraising and organization for her fledgling non-profit. The department jumped at the opportunity, because the profile of the keyboard had already been boosted by the recent appointment of pianist-professors Nicholas Mathew and James Q. Davies to the music faculty, to join Professor Davitt Moroney, who had for many years run a vibrant keyboards program for music majors from Morrison Hall.  The Piano Institute seemed a perfect opportunity to expand these efforts still further, and integrate into the department’s more general strategy to expand the profile of piano-playing for our students and build a piano-playing community at Berkeley. Added to this, the event seemed to chime with renewed pedagogical efforts to engage active learning models on campus by combining the best of scholarship with the best of performance. These emerging priorities are reflected in a series of proposed curricula changes that are due to be implemented in the music department in the very near future.

The visit of such artists as David Kim, Sezi Seskir, and Andrew Willis represents a unique educational opportunity for the talented undergraduates of the music department’s piano program. More and more, we see that gifted young pianists choose to become double majors at Berkeley rather than go the traditional conservatory route – as the openings for graduates from the large US conservatories have diminished. Several pianists currently in the program are winning major international competitions. We want to be sure that our recently revised undergraduate curriculum provides enough opportunities for these talented undergraduates; collaborating closely with dynamic new arrivals at Berkeley, such as Cal Performances (for example), and enlisting the help of friends of the piano in the Bay Area and beyond.