I love music immensely¡¯ The idea of motivation to practice and perform is outwardly a simple question, b ut actually a very interesting

question to answer. The ¡®obvious¡¯ answer would be becau se I love music immensely, I fell in love with the piano early on, and I cannot separate myself from music and performance. While this is all true, it is not th e whole story and I¡¯m going to focus on other things that may not be as obvious. I am motivated by many things in regards to performing piano, and some are relat ed to the above and some are more practical. Starting with the easiest: professi onal piano performance has become my primary life focus, where all of my energie s are devoted, and also is my principal form of income; clearly, in order to sur vive I need to make a living and doing what I¡¯m best at is of chief importance. The refore keeping in top shape (ie practicing!) is mandatory, and is one motivation to play. As someone said to me a while back, ¡°you are replaceable,¡± and in this cutth roat business it is vital to be the best you can possibly be. But this involves the practical. Now for the deeper answers to your question. At this point in my life, having played professionally since I was 18, I cannot se e myself in another career and do not wish to do anything but perform onstage. O bviously there are smaller things within the music business I enjoy doing, but t here is an unquenchable desire within me to continue forward and nothing else ca n replace that. When I am in top technical shape there is no feeling quite like that and I feel like I can do anything and express everything. I love achievement and ambition, and this career is filled with very tangible wa ys to gauge accomplishment and growth. Not to mention that the piano literature is so vast and amazing; it¡¯s like exploring new worlds every time one selects new r epertoire! There are many reasons why I continue performing, but many are hidden impulses a nd desires that cannot be satisfied with any other career. Maybe I was born to p lay the piano? ¡®Teachers¡¯ My teachers occupy the most important influences in their own ways: Bettye Ware , Lydia Artymiw, and Jon Kimura Parker. But other musicians and individuals have inspired me to climb higher and reach for a greater level of artistry. My first teacher, Bettye Ware, quickly recognized that I wanted to achieve great things even when I couldn¡¯t do them at the time. She was able to balance my ambiti ons (ie wanting to play Rachmaninoff¡¯s 2nd Concerto a few months after starting up piano again) with fundamentals, in order for me to stay interested but also gain ing necessary theory and technique. Concert pianist Lydia Artymiw was my teacher and mentor from 2002-2008, and it was with her that I learned what it took to b ecome a concert pianist: hard work, ceaseless ambition, core conviction, large r epertoire, and everything else one assumes a concert pianist possesses. She was very tough on me at times, and I needed it, but she was and continues to be supp ortive of me and is one of my most cherished mentors. Her example as a top piani st also helped inspire me; I wanted to be like her and worked hard to try and do what she could do onstage. Jon Kimura Parker has been my teacher at Rice University since 2008, and I learn ed a lot from his example as a concert pianist. He has a slightly different peda gogical approach from Lydia, but both are equally gifted as performers and teach ers and I gained a lot from both. Since I was older and more experienced while s tudying with him, he inspired me to search for my own personal expressions and g ave me the necessary breathing room to develop independently as a maturing artis t.

since I started much later than most concert pianists. I remember sitting in the basement waiting room for my brother to finish his les son. I was nervous to say the least. Desmond Hoebig. and I¡¯m very proud to be a member myself. and chronic pain can result from too much work. Fatigue. Chee-Yun) in concert. I think of a music career like a mountain range: many peaks and man y valleys. but clearly they were not a touring pia nist.There are many. and walks 70 miles in one day. for the sick. Some peaks are higher and more majestic than others. All Pro Musici s artists play additional concerts for the poor. period. and performing with top artists (Martin Chalifou r. mental and physical stamina To be a concert pianist means testing one¡¯s own stamina to the limits. The music world is small and completely connected. San Diego. and for the impri soned. Earliest memory ¡­ There aren¡¯t that many.¡± I stress the importance of physical fitness in performing for a living. playing large or new w orks in front of an audience from memory. and trying to maintain an artistic ¡®vital ity¡¯ or freshness after repeated performances. performing with major symphony orchestras (Minnesota. because she was quite str ict! Soon after this. pain. from a nun in a convent near the school. Fr. much like a prof . Recently. Houston). I gave up piano for a number of years before I started up again with newfound dedication. and enormous stress almost always accompanies the task of pe rforming onstage. a nd so many others. the composers Christopher Walczak and Christopher Goddard. I used to take private lessons at the Nativity of Our Lord school in Saint Paul. Many major concert artists number among the alumni of this wonderful orga nization. People often say that correct technique means one can play Rachmaninoff as much as they like. I rebut that statement by stating ¡°if one has perfect walking technique. ¡®Mountain range¡¯ There are many career moments that are particularly memorable. my Amsterdam Concertgebouw debut. and begin myself. but they¡¯re all vit al and important. But it¡¯s more than that: the founder. Merlet. It i s not a 9-to-5 job. many people that have inspired me: my girlfriend and amazing cel list Caroline Nicolas. Physical stamina is obvious: it is e xtremely taxing to perform onstage. my brilliant friend and professional colle ague Lindsay Brown. Mental stamina involves dealing with performance anxiety. some major ¡®peaks¡¯ have been my solo debut at Carnegie Hal l. so everyon e can and does influence me. But there is not one single ¡®Mount Everest¡¯ s o to speak! Pro Musicis Pro Musicis is a wonderful organization that sponsors top artists in major conce rt venues such as Carnegie Hall. I hope that Pro Musicis continu es it¡¯s wonderful mission for many more years! Tips for aspiring pianists Some of the most important qualities of a concert pianist I can think of: a. Minnesota. Robert Neu (Vice President. Minnesota Orchestra) has supp orted me immensely through my career. they¡¯re absolutely going to be fatigued tomorrow. recognizes the transformative power of music as a means for good. and I can¡¯t single o ut just one.

your conductor. your chamber music group. Nothing can replace this in an artist. no matter what set backs occur. managing fatigue. your interviewer. Having a solid technique is absolutely basic. g. Everyone tra ins in the same way. and creating new performance opportunitie s are necessary aspects of a professional career. people skills I can¡¯t stress this enough! Music is people oriented. and many people are trying to ga in those few spots onstage. You need to be yourself of course. the intrinsic desire to share music with others is what a perform er is all about. enough said. Active rest. or hear you. and a smart pianist will create ways to memorize faster and more securely. unquenchable love of music/sharing it One needs to have an unquenchable love of music to carry through the multitude o f challenges. It involves many successes. and compare th eir form and abilities to the millions more that play these sports. contacting orchestras. Keeping a website in top fo rm. and it is usually the imagination of an artis . I¡¯ve personally contacted hundred s of orchestras. and kept in touch with countless pe ople in the business. professional organizations. unwavering dedication and ambition The music business is ridiculously competitive. only to have them give the concert to someone else without notifying me. and listening to one¡¯s bo dy in practice are all extremely important. Furthermore. The maj ority of pieces one performs in public as a pianist have to be memorized. I¡¯ve used my k nowledge of music theory and structure to aid in solid memorization. but getting along with people in this busines s is a huge deal. stresses. play with you. you need to have very real goals in order to stay in the lone ly practice room day after day! c. and if you can¡¯t get along wi th your audience. and yet only the most advanced achieve legendary things. and disappointments that a music career can throw at you . but top artists seem to possess a fluidity and natur alism that is either there or not. An artist finds his/her voice through music. d. and a ceaseless drive to com municate is the fuel one needs. that extra natural talent and technique can make all the difference. this is a starting line. but each ar tist is different and needs to devise personal solutions. yo u are in for trouble. music business/marketing skills Even if you have a manager. artistic imagination Music is more than technique. Imagine the greatest athletes. Much of it is develop ed through proper training.essional athlete. Wh ile performing at the highest level challenges even the toughest pianists. but many more disappoint ments too. do not try this career. Also. e. memory/technique These are basic requirements in the varied arsenal of a concert pianist. and you have to maintain a positive outlook or cynicism is right around the corner. This gets di fficult. networking. No one will want to hire you. I can¡¯t tell you how many times I¡¯ve been contacted for amazing performing opportunities. Practicing is only one small facet of creating and sustain ing a real music career. massage. b. f. Unless one can deal with rejection.

with focused concentration. Musical limitations: The sound of the piano dies quickly. the large dynamic range possible on the piano makes for difficulties in stamina.¡¯ .David Hawley . and it is qui te a workout when performing a major concerto with orchestra. makes it extremely difficult to per form onstage.t that is the most memorable thing to audiences. Finally. A lean young man. it can also be tonally banal. Additionally. The sheer amount o f notes. a pianist¡¯s playing mechanism is not immediately connected to breath so it is a little more challenging to create a more ¡®natural¡¯ singing line. A concert pianist needs a huge imagination. fueled by an intellectual unders tanding of the music performed. networking abilities. was the sense of seeing a real musician at the starting gate. other talents. this is a career on t he rise and a performer to watch. 4. Physical requirements: The piano is a very physical instrument. the stress of perform ing a solo recital without anyone onstage. millions of people study piano at an advanced level. it can be too much for even the toughes t artists. 2. and this observation is meant as a compliment . as compared with other instruments. ¡®Staupe is a nonhistrionic performer. and piano pl aying in general. Unlike a singer or wind players. but it is essentially the words and grammar that allows a Shakespeare to create masterpiec es. and many other factors take a toll on the mind. Mental requirements: memorization of nearly everything. Without resolve and ambition. the loudest fortissimos of Rachmaninoff can quickly tire the muscles of the forearm and shoulder. Competition for these select spots is a t an all-time high. Amount of pianists today: Today. Challenges There are so many challenges that face an aspiring concert pianist. It is often the extra things mentioned (ie marketing skills. Judgin g by the shining moments displayed in Thursday¡¯s performance. etc) that can make all the difference. to create memorable and touching performances. and yet there are fe wer and fewer performance opportunities. One needs solid technique in order to express every possible emotion. so maintaining a me lodic line is quite difficult indeed. Unmistakabl e. Off the top of my head: 1. he performs upright. however. while the piano can poss ess nearly limitless tonal possibilities. 3.