Piano program twists traditional recital

Oakland’s piano program will host a free, Spanish-inspired recital “Musica con sabor” on Thursday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m.

The program added this themed recital to their event list this year after a summer of students stepping out of the classroom and out of the country.

The Spanish-dominate theme was inspired by study abroad programs taken by piano students Karen Li, the event coordinator, and Joshua Kolpak.

During the summer of 2014, Li travelled to Argentina and Kolpak to Spain, where they took in the new culture, language and music. Both were rewarded with scholarships from the OU Sharp Scholarship program for Study Abroad.

Li came back in August with the inspiration of sharing and teaching her overseas experiences through music. She hopes the recital reflects the Spanish culture her and Kolpak learned.

“We want to make this concert enlightening to our audience,” Li said. “Now we have the opportunity to be educational about the cultures we learned from the study abroad programs.”

Li began mentally preparing the recital idea in August of 2014, but approval was given in January and official planning . The students participating started solo practices months in advance.

Featuring eight soloists, all of which are piano majors, the concert will display piano pieces from a variety of Spanish-inspired composers. Each piece teaches the audience an unfamiliar environment through music, according to Li.

“I hope this will be more than just a typical recital,” Li said. “We’re all performance majors, so performing at an acceptable level is our main goal.”

Pulling from independent music festivals and foreign country endeavors, the performers have the opportunity to tell their own stories.

A nontraditional recital is a first for the piano program. Each year, students perform a concert near the end of the semester where their performance counts as their final exam grade. Each pianist plays a piece within the given curriculum.

This added recital is the students’ first opportunity to perform a piece of their choice and to express their voice. If given positive feedback, themed recitals are likely to keep occurring each year, Li said.

Though the audience is expected to gain an understanding of a new culture, possible future recitals will feature different themes.

“Study abroad isn’t essential for every year’s recital,” Li said. “But to perform outside of the curriculum and to tell a new story is nice to do for the students.”

For more information on the upcoming recital, contact Karen Li at [email protected].