Youthful musical geniuses on the rise


Kudos to the Music Teachers’ Association of California for presenting another successful convention at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, CA last Friday to Sunday.  People watching in the lobby while waiting for my son John, daughter-in-law Natasha and grandson Eliott, I observed the great number and diversity of families that came to support their student virtuosos. It was heartwarming to feel the infectious vibes ranging from excitement to nervousness, relief to delight, shaky uncertainty to victory. I was part of the family of a piano student, my grandson Eliott (14 this July) going into his 9th year of studying piano; so I felt all those emotions snowballed into – exhilarating and pleasurable.

Chopin, Debussy, Bartok, Khachaturian and Wild were on spotlight during the Monday afternoon piano recital I attended at the 2023 music convention. But I’d add that really on spotlight were my grandson Eliott and eleven other piano students who performed. I was mesmerized by their talent, skill and artistic expression.  A magnificent gift to us, the audience.

Eliott was in the company of other students on the crest at the level of their music learning. Eliott performed Chopin’s Waltz in A-flat Major, op. 69, no. 1. I was enamored by the emotions he wove into the interpretation of the movements, demonstrating a sensitive understanding of the direction and temper of the composition.  The transitions evoked varied moods and impressions that highlighted nuances of the musical experience.

Performers presented their own style of interpretation unique and varied that made the program quite interesting and enjoyable. While all the presentations at the recital hit high marks, besides Eliott’s Chopin piece, I was particularly moved by Steven Garcia’s dramatic interpretation of Debussy’s Golliwogg’s Cake Walk and Jennifer Cole’s performance of Wild’s Etude No. 4 (Embraceable You).  I hoped to hear more beautiful music; I didn’t want the program to stop.

Families of music students came in droves. The great support was clearly seen in the makeup of the audience – from grandparents to Moms and Dads and siblings of various ages.  I loved being in the audience myself.  I felt the warmth, encouragement and appreciation for the youths who follow their passion for the music arts and strive to excel in their musical talent.

The Music Teachers’ Association of California presents these conventions yearly for choice students to showcase what they’ve learned and achieved.  The recitals staged the progression from early learners to more advanced students.  But there also were workshops, seminars and classes that featured masters and famed personalities in the musical arts such as Steinway artists Dr. Richard Cionco, Dr. Natsuki Fukasawa, and pianist/composer Greg Anderson.

Linda P. Jacob