Christopher Taylor Headlines Piano Celebration Week at Island University

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The role of a university is, in part, to expose people to new concepts, knowledge, and experiences. Internationally acclaimed concert pianist Christopher Taylor, a world premiere, demonstration of a unique technology called RemoteLesson, and marathon piano concerts featuring 254 precollege students are among the highlights of the 2nd annual Piano Celebration Week, which is presented by the Department of Music at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Dr. Dino Mulic, assistant professor of piano, and Dr. Sangmi Lim, collaborative pianist, are the founding organizers of Piano Celebration Week. This festival is more than a showcase, it is a gift from the TAMU-CC piano area to our community. Drs. Mulic and Lim say the goals of the festival are to foster collaboration between faculty, students and the community, facilitate educational and performance opportunities for university students as well as community musicians, and to showcase the highest-level piano performances.

With a repertoire that spans four centuries, Artist in Residence Christopher Taylor is a world-renowned pianist whose international tours have included performances in China, Singapore, Italy and Venezuela. Taylor was named an American Pianists’ Association Fellow for 2000, and he won a Bronze Medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1993. In 1990, he won first prize at the William Kapell International Piano Competition in Maryland. He is a professor of piano at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

“Christopher Taylor will be in Corpus Christi for the first time for a total of three days,” Mulic said. “On Sunday, he will give a master class with three selected students from the Corpus Christi Music Teachers Association and talk about effective practice and memorization strategies, which is the same subject from last year. We think it’s very important to hear about this topic from different pianists.”    

In addition to the workshop, Taylor will play works by Nikolai Kapustin, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Schubert for his Artist in Residence recital at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Mulic said Taylor served as his doctoral studies mentor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“I studied with Christopher Taylor for three years and he is the most wonderful teacher I’ve ever had. He has played in Texas many times, but this will be his first performance in Corpus Christi,” Mulic said.

Also scheduled is a sponsor event called “Discover Yamaha” by Yamaha Corporation of America from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27. For the unique remote teaching and master class demonstration featuring RemoteLesson, Mulic said Yamaha technicians will connect a Disklavier piano in the Performing Arts Center with a Disklavier piano at Michigan State University where it will be played by Dr. Derek Polischuk, associate professor of piano and director of piano pedagogy at the MSU College of Music.   

“When our student plays onstage in the Performing Arts Center, Dr. Polischuk will hear it played on his piano in East Lansing, Michigan,” Mulic said. “And when he plays his piano, we will be able to hear it from the piano our student is playing.”

Piano Celebration Week also includes the world premiere of “Suite for Two Pianos,” a work written in 2013 by Mark Francis, executive director of the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra. Mulic and Lim will perform the three-movement composition as part of a piano duo recital that also includes works by Franz Schubert, Darius Milhaud, and Camille Saint-Saens.

The festival runs Sunday, March 24, through Sunday, March 31 in the Performing Arts Center and features a full slate of professional and student performances, workshops, and a finale that features 8 pianists accompanying the Corpus Christi Youth Chorale under the direction of Nan Borden. All events are free and open to the public.

Mulic said the festival would not be possible without the cooperation of the entire piano education community in the Coastal Bend, which is organized through the Corpus Christi Music Teachers Association. “Special thanks to our local Yamaha piano dealer Matt Perez of The Piano Gallery, for providing eight grand pianos and for promoting our festival,” Mulic said.

“This is a festival for everyone – professionals and amateurs,” Mulic said. “We want people who attend the festival to see that education is the best investment one can make. Invest in your education now – it will pay off eventually.”

Here’s a full schedule of Piano Celebration Week events:

Sunday, March 24

  • Piano Education Day (3-4 p.m.): Dugan Center fitness instructors Rebecca Moon and Josiah Florczykowski will demonstrate specific stretches that target the hip, glute, and core muscles. These muscles are affected by long periods of sitting.
  • Christopher Taylor Workshop (4-7 p.m.)

Monday, March 25

  • Piano junior recital with Alexandra Flint (7:30-8:30 p.m.) The program will include pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Arnold Schoenberg, Johannes Brahms, and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Tuesday, March 26

  • Piano recital with Christopher Taylor (7:30-9 p.m.)

Wednesday, March 27

  • “Discover Yamaha” sponsor event (5-9 p.m.): The goal of “Discover Yamaha” is to present the history of Yamaha Corporation of America, the company’s core beliefs, and showcase its line of pianos. The event includes a Disklavier remote teaching and master class demonstration.

Thursday, March 28  

  • Piano duo recital with Drs. Sangmi Lim and Dino Mulic (7:30-9 p.m.): The program will include pieces by Schubert, Milhaud, Francis, and Saint- Saëns written for piano four-hands and two pianos.

Friday, March 29

  • Piano marathon concert (5-9:30 p.m.): The concert features 100 precollege students in a recital celebrating piano music and artistry.

Saturday, March 30

  • Piano marathon concert (8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.): 154 precollege students will engage in a full-day recital.

Sunday, March 31

  • Piano monster concert extravaganza (3-4:30 p.m.): The Performing Arts Center stage will feature eight grand pianos and 8 pianists accompanying the Corpus Christi Youth Chorale under the direction of Nan Borden.


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