“Here clearly is a pianist who thinks about the dramatic and rhetorical meaning of the notes he plays.”
—San Antonio Express
- DMA, University of Texas, Austin
- MM, New England Conservatory
- BM, University of Texas, Austin
- Monterey Symphony
- Austin Symphony
- Walbrzych Philharmonie
What is your hometown?
San Antonio, TX
What is your favorite recording?
Ignaz Friedman — Chopin: Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 55, No. 2
What are you passionate about outside of music?
People, good food and wine, travel, hiking, and record collecting.
Who were your major teachers?
Gregory Allen, Patricia Zander, and Nancy Garrett.
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
“Good musicians divide, great musicians sub-divide!”
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
Either how or why. If forced to choose one, probably why. It's really how one ultimately understands.
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?
After years of immersing myself in music as a child through listening to recordings, studying piano, playing oboe in band and orchestra, and singing in chorus, I realized in high school that there was simply nothing I could really imagine doing other than being a musician.
What was a turning point in your career?
When I got my first teaching job in Moscow, Idaho (University of Idaho) on the same day as my second doctoral recital.
If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
It's hard to imagine doing anything else, but perhaps a tour director.
What is your daily practice routine?
Usually, I begin practice in the morning after a walk (and often an espresso!). This way, I am really awake and ready to concentrate when I start. I often spend 10–15 minutes on technical issues (and warming up) and gradually move into the music I'm practicing at the moment. I like the famous Liszt pupil Moriz Rosenthal's comment that he found that musicians who didn't practice technique...didn't have any!
If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?
Beethoven, Mozart, and Liszt.
From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?
Either Vienna in the 1820s (Beethoven and Schubert both at the same time) OR Paris in the 1830s (Chopin, Liszt, and all of the great pianists of the era there at the same time).
Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?
Peter Toth, Hanson Tam, and Hugo Kitano.
What are your academic publications?
Chopin and the Opera, California Music Teacher
What recordings can we hear you on?
Castelnuovo-Tedesco: “Songs on Texts of Shakespeare”, Marco Polo
William Wellborn: “Piano Portraits”, Cambria Masterworks
What is your unrealized project?
Learning all the Beethoven Sonatas.