On Wednesday, Feb. 12 EMU’s Alexander Hall held guest pianist, Jerry Wong. The intimate recital gathered many that applauded Wong’s performance.
As of July, 2019, Wong has been working as an Associate Professor of Piano at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in Australia. Wong has built, and continues to enlarge, his extensive list of notable achievements. Performing at venues like Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, National Concert Hall of Taipei, National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., Opera City Hall in Tokyo, PianoForte in Chicago, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Shriver Hall in Baltimore and Weill Recital Hall in New York City.
Wong studied at Indiana University, Peabody Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music where he completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and went on to teach piano as a professor at Kent State University in Ohio for nearly two decades.
Wong reflected on his childhood love of music and his mother’s influence.
“My mother was a pianist and went to Juilliard actually for a little bit. She played the piano a lot at home. So, as a child I am on the floor with my Legos and my mother is playing with great repertoire, composers like Brahms, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and I heard all of this, everyday. She was always playing for her own pleasure and her own continuation of growth. She didn’t perform at all, she taught maybe a couple lessons to students, but then she gave that up. She really was not involved as a professional musician, but she kept it going. That was really my first little inkling of how emotionally stirring music can be,“ reflected Wong.
His performance at EMU showcased his passion and talent through the playing of five different pieces, among them were composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, Leopold Godowsky, Ferruccio Busoni, Ludwig van Beethovan and Seymour Berstein.
With such extensive aptitude for piano, comes a dedicated practice schedule and lots of commitment. Wong walked through his practicing process.
“When I was a student, I practiced with rigidity every single day and if I didn’t I felt quite upset with myself. Now, that I am a professor and I am a father of two young kids, the practice is very irregular, it is when I have concerts coming up and it is in the early mornings and late evening. I can tell you that the older I get, 47 now, and the more demands that get put on me, the more I love to practice piano, maybe even more than perform. I can be alone with it and I can tweak certain things and change things and experiment. I love the process, it is almost like a scientist in his laboratory,“ explained Wong.
Wong believes the work is worth it. He loves what he does and stated the highlight as a musician, for him.
“The most rewarding aspect ultimately is being able to walk on stage and share music with an audience,” Wong shared.
The audience shared Wong’s enthusiasm with intense applause and a standing ovation as his performance came to an end.
“Different members of the audience take different things, some of them I hope will go and study some of this music and get to know it. Some of them I just hope they have a wonderful evening and enjoy themselves. Some of them, who are students and colleagues, go on and practice and can do much better than me.”
For more information on Jerry Wong and his upcoming recitals, visit his website.