Young Composer to be Honored at Carnegie Hall
On Saturday, February, 9, 13-year-old John Peter Redmond of Yonkers, New York (pictured) will be among the over 40 talented young musicians performing at the Tri-state Certificate of Excellence Recital, held in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. The event celebrates students from Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York achieving top marks on Music Development Program assessments. We recently sat down with the pianist and budding composer, who shared his insights on the program as well as the original composition he’ll be performing.
How long have you been playing piano?
I have been taking lessons for almost seven years (since fall 2006) but I have been playing around on the piano since I was little.
Tell us a bit more about your composition.
Prelude on Old Hundredth is based on the doxology tune Old Hundredth, written in the 16th century. I started writing the introduction, which has my own tune in it, a while ago. I sort of left it behind, but I played it one day and automatically transitioned right into Old Hundredth! At least, I think that’s what might have happened. (Sometimes I can’t remember exactly how I composed a piece.)
Did you perform it during your piano assessment?
Not for last year’s, but I plan to perform it at my assessment this May.
How has piano study helped you develop as a composer?
Piano study has improved my technique and exposed me to various types of music. It has helped me develop as a composer because piano knowledge allows me to play whatever I want to write down, especially music not for the piano!
Why do you enjoy studying piano through The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program?
I enjoy it because it is challenging and includes a wide range of repertoire choices. I devour the written comments from the adjudicator because they are encouraging and also have great suggestions for improvement. The recitals at Carnegie Hall are also great experiences also—it is very special to have the awards ceremony there!
What do you enjoy about studying with your teacher, Ann Schein?
I enjoy studying with Ms. Schein for many reasons. We are both interested in music history, and she tells me a lot about the backgrounds of the composers we are studying. She says that knowing the composer’s background is very important for playing a piece well. She always surprises me with something new to learn and suggests great books to read. Ms. Schein is a also kind and patient teacher, and is easy-going even if she is teaching me something difficult. She challenges me by expecting my best effort but corrects me gently. She also shares stories about her musical experiences and travels, which I find fascinating!
Can you share a fun memory of taking – or preparing for – an assessment?
When I was preparing for my first assessment three years ago, one of my former teachers suggested that his colleague should give me a “mock exam.” This trial exam, which I took shortly before the real assessment, showed me how it was done in a fun and painless way.
Do you ever feel nervous before a big performance?
I always feel a bit nervous, but also excited. Since I have played in the Royal Conservatory recital at Carnegie Hall before, I will have a little experience to help me.
How will you prepare for your performance at Carnegie Hall?
I will practice, practice, practice! I also need to make sure my suit fits.