Classical Performance : Piano

piano lesson

The piano performance area is a unique combination of students from all degree programs who by audition have piano as their major instrument. This includes programs in Classical Performance, Music Education, Music Management, Sound and Engineering Arts and Jazz Studies. All students pursue a comprehensive program emphasizing all of the classical musical styles from the Baroque Period to music written in the 21st century. Several graduates have received international recognition as concert pianists, others have gone on to top graduate schools while many have created private teaching studios, play for theater productions, have regular church or synagogue jobs and perform chamber music. Those with degrees in Music Education hold positions throughout the state of New Jersey.

The internationally acclaimed piano faculty combines the best of the European traditions and techniques with recent trends in modern music. We make no difference between jazz and classical styles but concentrate on educating our students to perform good music well. Our piano faculty has received recognition throughout the world as superior performers as well as distinguished pedagogues. They perform as soloists, chamber musicians and give master classes  in Europe, Asia, South America, Canada and Russia.

Please see the list of Audition Requirements for piano


Piano Faculty

*Gary Kirkpatrick, Area Coordinator
Internationally acclaimed pianist Gary Kirkpatrick is recognized throughout the world as one of America's foremost soloists, chamber musicians, and teachers. Originally from Kansas, he gave his first solo recital at age eleven and graduated with high honors from the Eastman School of Music and the Academy of Music in Vienna. After claiming top prizes at the Stepanov Piano Competition in Vienna and the International Piano Competition in Jaen, Spain, he made his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City. The New York Times praised his "high caliber performance and musicianship" as having "covered a wide gamut of moods with varied pacings within a unified architectural concept." Frequent New York engagements followed, most notably at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, where he was hailed by Musical America as a pianist with a "bright colorful tone, forthright, honest musicianship, and above all, a welcome acuity of timing."

Mr. Kirkpatrick's numerous concert tours and television and radio broadcasts have taken him to more than forty countries (encircling the globe more than three times) and placed him at the vanguard of today's musical scene A strong proponent of 20th century music, he has explored new horizons in compositions created especially for him during his tenure as pianist with the renowned Verdehr Trio, recording more than ten albums on the Crystal, Corélia, Leonardo and Amadeo labels.

Gary Kirkpatrick has been invited as guest artist and teacher to many of the world's leading conservatories including those in Shanghai, China; Bombay and Calcutta, India; Brisbane, Australia, Tallinn, Estonia and Cairo, Egypt. He has been on the faculties of the University of Kansas, the Interlochen Center for the Arts and is currently professor of piano at the William Paterson University of New Jersey where he recently received the Dean's Award of Honor for Exemplary Artistic Achievement.

Recent tours included concerts and master classes in Estonia, Austria, Spain, Greece (Athens and Corfu), Cyprus, Japan, and the US (the Frick Collection in New York City and the Phillips Gallery in Washington, D.C.). His performance of Howard Hanson's Fantasy on a Theme of Youth received a rave review in Classical New Jersey. In celebration of the hundredth anniversary of Gershwin's birth Mr. Kirkpatrick performed Rhapsody in Blue and The Three Preludes in Osaka Japan. The world premiere in 2001 of John Link's Piano Concerto received the following review: "the piece will never receive a better performance from a soloist." Concerts in California and the New York Metropolitan Area with the newly formed Halcyon Trio (clarinet/viola/piano) have received rave reviews. On their debut CD with the world premiere recording of Trent Johnson's Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano (released in April 2002), Gary Kirkpatrick was hailed as "anchor of the trio, measuring each work's pace with a confident authority, sometimes offering biting concision, at others lush, languorous phrasing." Critics singled out the "glinting piano" and "Liszt-like piano passages" in his September 10, 2004 world premier performance of Lalo Schifrin's Triple Concerto for Clarinet, Viola and Piano with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. In July 2009 Mr. Kirkpatrick gave the opening solo concert at the International Music Festival in Villaviciosia de Odon (Madrid), Spain.

Carl Patrick Bolleia
Regarded as a "strong pianist" by New Music Connoisseur and "an uninhibited player" by New York Concert Review, Carl Patrick Bolleia has collaborated with musicians of the The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. Performances as soloist, conductor and collaborative pianist have occurred at Carnegie Hall Issac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall, (le) poisson rouge, Merkin Hall, Spectrum, NJPAC,Vienna ConcertoFest in Austria, Vianden Castle and Centre Cultural Larei in Luxembourg, Brevard Music Center, Northwestern University New Music Conference, University of Scranton, The Intersection of Jazz and Classical Music Piano Conference at West Virginia University, South Oxford Space Brooklyn, and numerous engagements on the New Music Series at William Paterson University. He has recorded for Composers Concordance Records distributed by Naxos, and MSR Classics. “CME Presents: Piano Celebration”, which was hailed by Gramophone for "show[ing] a heightened affinity for the music… savouring the novel, harmonic flights in Frederic Rzewski's Down by the Riverside” and by Fanfare as “capturing all of the quirkiness and chameleon changes of the score... it arrives like a blaze of light, and continues to glow magnificently.” Niederösterreichische Nachrichten heralded his Austrian premiere of Jinsil Lee’s, The Beginning: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, as “The highlight of the evening...” described his playing as “excellent... [which] received frenetic applause.” He is adjunct professor of piano and collaborative piano at William Paterson University, and lecturer of music at Rutgers University where he teaches seminars in collaborative piano and 20th-21st Century Performance Practice, and conducted the modern music ensemble Split the Lark.

Primary piano studies have been with Ursula Oppens, Min Kwon and Gary Kirkpatrick. Masterclasses with classical and jazz pianists ranging from Alan Feinberg, Nicolas Hodges, Fred Hersch and Dr. Billy Taylor. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from Rutgers, where his dissertation was entitled "Taxonomy of Musical Gesture and Hermeneutic of Narrative and Diatonic Continuity in the Piano Music of Charles Wuorinen." Additional pursuits include the study of sacred music at The Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University and Gregorian Chant at the Wethersfield Institute, organ studies with Renée Anne Louprette, harpsichord studies with Rebecca Cypess and at Amherst Early Music with Arthur Haas and Peter Sykes, and the transcription and arrangement for the 125th Anniversary Promotional Campaign of Dr. Pepper. He began his career as a liturgical musician at the age of 13 and has served from monasteries in rural Illinois to cathedrals and churches in Italy, Barbados, and as Director of Sacred Music in the Archdiocese of Newark and Diocese of Paterson.

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