Robert Palmer hosted a piano masterclass in the Colton Recital Hall for students interested in getting feedback to help with their songs on April 4.
Palmer said he has made fifteen tours of Asia, with solo and concert performances in the metropolitan centers of Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo. Palmer said he has also concertized frequently throughout Europe and Russia including some festivals as well.
“I’ve appeared on the summer faculties of the ARIA international music festival in the United States, the Rencontres Estivales au Moulin in France, the ‘Musical Summer’ International Festival and masterclasses in Spain, and the Interharmony International Music Festival in Germany and Italy,” Palmer said.
Palmer graduated from The Peabody Conservatory of Music and the University of Minnesota. He said his students at the university and high school level have been prize-winners in more than 125 state, national, and international competitions.
“I’ve won many awards including prizes in the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition and the United States Information Agency National Piano Competition, formerly the Mauzy-Porter Distinguished Professor of Piano at Ball State University, and I’m a Steinway Artist,” Palmer said.
During the masterclass, Palmer said he listened very carefully to every single note the student played and made sure that each note had a meaning and context. Palmer said that after a student would perform their piece, they would go back to the beginning and work on both the technical and interpretive issues.
“It is extremely difficult just to play accurately; but the greatest artists go far beyond accuracy and create a compelling musical performance. My challenge is to show students how to achieve that. I very much enjoyed hearing the skill set of every student with the 30 minutes I have with each one of them,” Palmer said.
Alessandra Feris, assistant professor of piano and organizer for the event, said they are committed to bringing highly qualified guest artists to USD because they want to set high standards for the students.
“When we choose the guest artists, we aim very high so we bring only the best. So when a student performs the guest teacher will criticize the performer in front of the entire group,” Feris said.
Rebecca Kelly, a student who performed her piece to Palmer, said she was excited for Palmer to critique her work and was excited to meet and work with him.
“His story about coming back after having COVID-19 is really inspiring to me and so I really look forward to working with him. I started working on the piece I will be performing with since Christmas break,” Kelly said.