I work during the day as an engineer speaking mostly in acronyms while keeping the world's financial systems connected through various intricate technologies. When I’m not routing ones and zeros around the globe I strive to be a pianist. I started studying music as an adult in the summer of 2004. After having attended a symposium for pianists at Princeton University I met the person who would ultimately become my teacher.
I spend as much of my free time as possible learning new repertoire and perfecting my technique.
Explore this site and learn more about the music, listen to some samples, check out some photography, or watch videos of me performing pieces from the baroque, classical, romantic, and contemporary solo piano repertoire.
Frédéric Chopin Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20
This piece was written in 1831, during the November Uprising against the Russian Empire. A friend of Chopin's, Thomas Albrecht, to whom it was dedicated, convinced him to stay in Vienna, away from his family in Poland, to build his musical career. During this time he only played one concert, where he performed his concerto in E minor. Because of the struggle and the war, his compositions changed from pieces of a brilliant style to works in a new, darker tonality. Chopin composed this piece and several of the Opus 10 etudes around the same time.
Scherzo is "joke" in Italian, and Robert Schumann commented on the work's apparent disregard for its title: "How is 'gravity' to clothe itself if 'jest' goes about in dark veils?" It is dark, suspenseful, and full of chaos - the first clear melody is in the slow B major middle section, but returns to a chaotic murmur soon after. It is hypothesized that this portrayed Chopin's feelings toward the war, or told a story about rebellion in his homeland. This may reflect Brahms' sentiment with his own ironic scherzos.
This first Scherzo takes A-B-A-Coda form and begins with two chords in fortissimo. At tremendous speed, a series of dramatic outbursts in the B minor tonic follows. Near the center of the piece, the music leads into a slower section in B major; finally one hears a tangible melody in the middle register, surrounded by accompaniment in both the left and upper right hands. Chopin quotes here from an old Polish Christmas song (Lulajże Jezuniu); the tempo in this section is marked Molto più lento. The B major area dissolves as the harmony mysteriously changes character via secondary dominant. The two chords from the beginning reappear, superimposed over vestiges of the middle section. Then the beginning presto repeats itself in the familiar minor tonic.
The lead-in to the dramatic, virtuosic coda is similar to the approach toward the Molto più lento, but slightly different (as it is with Chopin's Second and Third Scherzi). This final section incorporates dizzying arpeggiated flights up and down almost the entire keyboard, suspended by a climactic series of nine ten-note chords (E♯ diminished seventh (with diminished third), augmented sixth chordin root position, secondary leading-tone chord of tonic B). After the resolution and a rapid chromatic ascent over four octaves in both hands, the piece comes to a triumphant conclusion via a bold minor plagal cadence.
The term bagatelle is of French or Italian origin and means something of little value, a trifle, and was first used as early as 1717 by the French Baroque composer François Couperin. Beethoven wrote three sets of bagatelles, a total of 24 with opus numbers as well as an additional 6 individual bagatelles without opus numbers. One of the without opus number bagatelles is arguably one of Beethoven's most well known pieces, Für Elise. His first set of bagatelles opus 33, was written in 1802-1803 and contains seven works. It would be a mistake to take the term bagatelle literally. These are short pieces, but they aren't all fluff and stuff.
This scherzo is in C major and begins with a rhythmically quirky figure. With sudden changes in dynamics, a mix of slurred notes and staccato notes and rests, Beethoven trips the ear as we try to grasp the pulse of the music. This first section is repeated, and just as the listener is beginning to get the feel of the rhythm Beethoven changes things abruptly with a section in A minor that has the melody played in octaves in the right hand to a triplet accompaniment. Like a swelling ocean wave a crescendo from piano to fortissimo spans a 3-bar section, and rapidly dies down to piano, only to do it again before the end of the minor section. The minor section is repeated, and the opening scherzo returns. The trio is of a more mellow mood, as runs of thirds in the right hand spell out the simple theme. The trio repeats, after which the scherzo returns but with some syncopation thrown in for good measure. A short coda begins to wind down the music, but the final bars hammer out a C major chord in the right hand alternating with a low C in the left. The accents shift for a few bars until the music ends on the low C in the second beat of a measure.