Professor Pierce currently serves as Director of the Keyboard Pedagogy and Secondary Piano program within the Thornton School of Music, where he teaches piano pedagogy, keyboard literature and applied piano.
For all his accolades, Stephen is kind and approachable. His insightful comments to the student performers were delivered with warmth, humor and humility.
Students of Ivana Grubelic Malo, Lynn Nakamura and Nobuyo Nishizaka performed challenging pieces by Francis Poulenc, Frédéric Chopin and Ludwig van Beethoven. The students were well prepared and played beautifully. Both the student performances and Stephen Pierce’s generous technical advice and coaching were inspiring.
Thanks to Ivana Grubelic Malo, CAPMT San Fernando Valley Chapter President and Lynn Nakamura, Chair for organizing this special event.
Thanks to my hubby, Barry Michael Wehrli who also has a piano teaching practice and membership in CAPMT, for helping me take notes for this blog.
In between his critiques and recommendations, Stephen shared witty and insightful stories about the pieces, their composers, some of the remarkable pianists who performed them and editions by various publishers.
Although there were too many to list in this blog, I will leave you with our favorite tidbit:
Improvisation No. 15 in C Minor was composer Francis Poulenc’s improvisation of the 1945 French song and jazz standard, Autumn Leaves. It is an homage to singer Edith Piaf! When Stephen asked the student to replay the piece, the melody practically jumped out at the audience. Remarkable! I’m inspired to learn it now.
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Teachers interested in joining CAPMT and attending wonderful programs like this master class, may reach out to Ivana Grubelic Malo at email@example.com.