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English and music double major studies with renowned musicians during intense three-week piano program this summer

This summer, Shin Hwang ’10 (Ann Arbor, Mich.) immersed himself in a summer piano program at SUNY (State University of New York) New Paltz that he says took his skills to new levels and electrified his passion for music.

During the intense three-week program, the roughly 40 students enrolled studied with highly esteemed professional piano players on a daily basis. The program included daily individual lessons with master classes, lectures, concerts, and performance opportunities. The program featured the Jacob Flier International Piano Competition, in which the winner performed a piano concerto with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.

“The program was quite an experience, because not only did it help me grow as a pianist, but it also resulted in becoming one of the main factors that determined my decision to study piano much more seriously,” says Hwang, an English and music double major.

Hwang explains that while the prominent reason he attended this program was “to experience the music world,” he ended up making other unexpected discoveries along the way.

“I was surrounded by excellent pianists (students and faculty alike) who all were passionate about piano,” Hwang says. “I was surprised, though, that they were not any different from regular college students. They listened to all different kinds of music (not only classical), played sports, and talked about politics and religion, and many other things. That was really something I didn’t expect.”

As well as being enjoyable, Hwang says he found the program inspiring and uniquely opportune.

“Being around other pianists really inspired me to work hard,” Hwang says. “I also attended this program to study with the faculty, many of whom I deeply respect, and some of them really encouraged me to pursue piano further, not only for the sake of becoming a better pianist, but also for making this love that I have for music an established part of my life instead of just a hobby. The program also became a performing experience for me as I was able to perform in Steinway Hall in New York City.”

Hwang is also pursuing his certification to teach secondary education and is studying classical piano with Alexis Fisher, visiting instructor of piano.

“It is absolutely a pleasure to work with Shin,” Fisher says. “He is thoughtful about every aspect of piano performance and brings great energy and emotion to the repertoire. His experience as a participant in the PianoSummer at New Paltz program added enormously to his dimension and growth as a musician.”

After graduation, he plans to pursue a masters of music degree in piano performance & pedagogy.

He anticipates performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto # 3 in c-minor next spring semester in the Orchestra concert, as well as performing a full solo recital during his junior and/or senior year.

Hwang is a member of the orchestra and Lafayette Christian Fellowship. He regularly performs in student recitals at the Williams Center for the Arts.

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