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Acclaimed pianist promises inside look at creative process

September 17, 2010

Dr. Grace Fong

Believe it or not, the acclaimed international pianist Grace Fong, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of keyboard studies at Chapman University, had to stop and think about how she works a piece of music from the day she first sees the notes to the moment she takes the stage to perform it.

“It’s such a personal thing for musicians. It’s really not something that’s generally talked about because we’ve done it for so long,” Fong says. “Typically the end result is what we talk about. The steps before that are a mystery.”

But Dr. Fong will attempt to uncover the mystery of the creative process that may seem intuitive to her but fascinating to others when she delivers the Third Annual Lectio Magistralis at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, in Memorial Hall.

The Lectio Magistralis is rooted in the European university tradition of inviting newer faculty members to present a lecture on their work or field of study. Dr. Fong joined the Conservatory of Music in 2007. She has won numerous international competitions, including the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in the United Kingdom and has performed at major venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Hollywood Bowl.

In her talk, titled “Behind the Notes,” Dr. Fong says she will use musical demonstrations, some recordings and “a mix of different things” to describe the process of preparing for a major concert. Her goal is to create a presentation that will interest fellow musicians, as well as colleagues and students in disciplines from mathematics to social sciences.

“I think it will be fun for everybody,” she says.

The Lectio Magistralis is free and open to the public.

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