Wednesday, Jan 16 2013 11:53 AM

They can study, but can they play? Find out

BY SUSAN SCAFFIDI Contributing writer

Music performance is an applied art, so at some point you have to get out of the studio and in front of an audience to see what you can do. That's just what eight CSUB student pianists will do Friday evening in the music department's piano studio recital.

Ranging from freshmen to seniors, the students will perform a wide-range of piano repertoire, from Baroque to 20th century, including works by J.S. Bach, Robert Schumann, Claude Debussy, Frederic Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff and George Gershwin

"We do this to encourage the students," said Dr. Soo-Yeon Chang, professor of piano at CSUB.

Chang said the students have been preparing for the recital since the fall quarter.

"They learn a new piece, then they have a jury and then they perform in public," Chang said. "It's all a learning process."

"We provide the students the opportunity to perform in public because, as students, they don't get much opportunity," Chang said.

The student performers are Thien-Tin Le, Joel Leyva, Sarah McFarland, Amber Papillon, Ryan Ramming, Anthony Rinaldi, Jay Smith and Ryan Vaughn.

Ramming, a senior, is just a few months away from his senior recital and will be performing three piano preludes by George Gershwin -- pieces he intends to include in his recital.

"One of the things these recitals are great for is giving you the opportunity to practice performing these in public," Ramming said. "You can learn your piece thoroughly, but it is always a completely different experience playing it in the practice hall or for your friends than it will be to actually perform it in front of a live audience."

Ramming said the challenges presented by a formal performance include such non-musical experiences as poor lighting, people talking or a baby crying, a too-hot or too-cold room, even wearing what proves to be uncomfortable performance clothes.

"The actual skill of performing requires taking all these in stride, as well as dealing with the high levels of anxiety which usually accompany performing for an audience, and somehow find a way to be present in the moment, experience the music and play well," Ramming said.

Freshman Anthony Rinaldi is making his debut with the piano studio Friday evening. Rinaldi is actually a composition major, and is already recognized for his jazz playing, but said he needs this experience.

"I felt I should go into the piano studio to get a good handle on expression before I go into composition," Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi, who has been studying with Doug Davis since junior high school, will perform three pieces by German composer Robert Schumann. Rinaldi said performing from the classical repertoire in Chang's piano studio is much harder than the jazz gigs he's used to.

"It's a completely different dynamic than performing in a bar," Rinaldi said. "It's a much more scrutinizing environment."

"You have to play exactly what's on the printed page instead of improvising," Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi couldn't anticipate what he will learn from the experience, but did have some goals for himself.

"Just express the music authentically," Rinaldi said. "Just get into this mindset as opposed to the mindset with other types of gigs."

Ramming said following the studio recital, students will get feedback from Chang, and work together to improve their future performances.

"The hope is that, after four years, we've developed the experience necessary to give a full recital on our own, and to perform with excellence and confidence," Ramming said.

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