Many students do not have the chance to perform in front of an award-winning pianist, but those who were performing at the ‘Masterclass: Drew Peterson’ event had this opportunity. The piano masterclass took place on Feb. 14 in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center and featured performances from several students. After each performance, University of Indianapolis’ artist-in-residence, Drew Peterson, critiqued the student’s performances and gave them advice on how to improve.
According to senior music performance major Brandon Voss, who also performed at the event, the masterclass was essentially a critique sesson for student performances. Voss said that professors usually handle the masterclasses, but sometimes guest pianists are involved in the process.
“A few of us will play…and he will give us his thoughts, critique us and [give us] suggestions on what to do with the piece,” Voss said. “He’s not telling us how to play it, but he’s just giving us ideas on what to do with it.”
Senior music performance major Allison Vickery performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in B Major, BWV 892” from the “Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II” at the event. Vickery said that being able to work with Peterson in a masterclass was a unique experience for her to have.
“I love the atmosphere of a masterclass,” Vickery said. “In music, a lot of the time you’re working on music you’re by yourself in a practice room [and not around others].”
Vickery said that Peterson gave her valuable insight and that she appreciates his approach to performing music on the piano.
“His knowledge base is incredibly broad, so he brings a lot to the table,” Vickery said. “He made me think more about contrasts and just bringing the music to a new level of life. It’s one thing to be correct musically…and it’s another thing to… bring a new level of emotional expression [to the music].”
Voss said that he memorized Frédéric Chopin’s “Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38” for the masterclass.
“Some sections are harder [to memorize] than others, especially towards the middle,” Voss said. “I didn’t have any memory slips, which was great, but I’ve been playing it out for a little bit, so that helped. I had memory slips afterward, when we were rehearsing small sections, but not during the actual performance.”
Sophomore music major Lucy Shirley performed “Winging It: No. 2, January 3, 2008” by John Corigliano at the masterclass. She said that working with Peterson was a good experience and that this was her first time participating in a masterclass event.
“He’s really laid back and he’s very accepting, but he gives you really good suggestions and tips on how to make your piece better,” Shirley said. “But, if you don’t do something right, he’s not upset with you [and] he’s not judgmental.”
Shirley said that whenever Peterson comes to campus that it is always inspiring to see him.
Peterson also gave a piano performance with UIndy’s chamber orchestra on Feb. 16 in the CDFAC. He performed three pieces from Chopin and one piece from Bach.