Unsung Heroes: Celebrating Eastman’s Collaborative Pianists

From left to right: Chiao-Wen Cheng, Irina Lupines, Pi Lin Ni, and Priscilla Yuen, featured pianists performing in “Celebrating Eastman’s Collaborative Pianists” on Monday, September 10, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall.

By Sarah Forestieri

It’s the day of your graduating voice recital, and you’ve woken up feeling just a bit under the weather. Not so much so that you would consider cancelling, but just enough that it’s going to make getting through your recital that much more stressful! You meet with your beloved pianist an hour before the recital just to check on a few tempi and run through some trickier spots. You know you’ll be able to get through it, but there’s just that one piece that was technically tricky on a good day. That’s the moment your pianist looks at you and says, “You know, I could probably transpose this down a semitone at sight, would that make it a bit easier?”

This is just one instance of collaborative pianists stepping in to save the day. Most of the time, the audience never really knows about all the extra tasks and challenges pianists have to deal with – like poorly prepared binders or mis-photocopied pages… They don’t have it easy, but we sure are grateful that they always come through and work their magic.

Here are another 9 reasons why you should stop and thank your collaborative pianist today:

1. They can sight-read just about anything.
2. They always come prepared (even when you might not be).
3. They have nerves of steel! They’re always there for you when you need a pre-recital pep talk, and have your back when you get incredibly nervous on concert day and take off like a runaway train.
4. They know how to get you back on track when you’ve jumped ahead and skipped a bar.
5. They’ve witnessed every type of odd pre-concert ritual under the sun, but they won’t judge you for it.
6. They can adapt instantly to your instrument, knowing exactly when to pull back or give you more support.
7. They are champion multi-taskers, usually playing at least double the amount of notes as the soloist, while simultaneously thinking about balance, blending, and following you.
8. They’re psychic! Somehow, they instinctively know when you’re going to come in a beat late, and are always ready to adjust and get you back on track.
9. They become lifelong friends with whom you’ll make music for years to come.

So how can we show our love? On Monday, September 10, 2018, come out and celebrate Eastman’s fabulous collaborative pianists at 7:30 pm in Kilbourn hall. This recital features Eastman faculty artists Chiao-Wen Cheng, Irina Lupines, Pi Lin Ni, and Priscilla Yuen, piano, assisted by Mark Kellogg on trombone, Oleh Krysa on violin, Guy Johnston on cello, and Chien-Kwan Lin on saxophone.

Tickets $10 general admission, free to University of Rochester ID holders and current series subscribers. Available online at EastmanTheatre.org, in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main St.), or by calling (585) 274-3000.

Sarah Forestieri is an ALP Intern in the Eastman Communications Office this year. She is currently a second year Master’s Voice student in the studio of Dr. Jonathan Retzlaff.