By: Monica Parra
Not many students have had the pleasure to display their talents at a recital lasting almost an hour long at the college that allowed them to perfect their skills. Jonathan Strand, 24, is a piano performance major that demonstrated exceptional technique receiving a standing ovation by a full audience at the Los Angeles Harbor College Music Recital Hall on Friday May 18. Jonathan’s been playing the piano for 10 years but his interest in majoring as a piano performer was sparked by an anime called “Your Lie in April,” in which a pianist regains his passion to play piano and that became his main inspiration.
The journey began at LAHC where he applied himself for the ultimate performance in front of friends, family, students, and faculty to attend. His mentor and piano instructor Dr. Cindy Tseng, worked with him for about 4-5 semesters and practiced an average of 3-4 hours a day. Jonathan then began performing in some recitals at retirement homes and also the Boys and Girls Club allowing him to eventually teach the kids there how to play piano.
Jonathan will be graduating this year and transferring to California State University Northridge in the fall. His recital was the equivalent of a senior recital at a university, so he was glad he had the opportunity to advance his performance experience at a college level to prepare for future recitals. “Thankfully, I’ll be going back to shorter recitals,” Strand said. Although his performance was a great success, he’s relieved he no longer has to stress about any pressure or nerves building up for the grand event.
Dr. Tseng opened the recital by giving a brief history of Jonathan and his improvements over the course of time practicing with her leading up to the recital. She said, “Jonathan came to me with the intention of learning an anime song and I agreed to help him as long as he would also learn classical pieces by composers such as Beethoven, Bach, and Chopin.” At first, Jonathan would only provide anime music to the lessons, and although Dr. Tseng was open to that, she suggested he buy and practice classical pieces as well. “I don’t purchase music” was Jonathan’s response. The crowd laughed, and she went on with her introduction shortly presenting Jonathan to the stage to perform his first musical piece.
The program did not inquire an intermission, and with the talents that were displayed on stage, a break was the last thing in mind. Jonathan performed 4 pieces in his own “Un Sospiro” or “a sigh,” “Danzas Argentinas,” Prelude in D,” and his favorite one of the night, “Tarantella.” Dr. Tseng also made an appearance on stage to play piano four-hands with Jonathan in the pieces such as “Petite Suite,” “8 Variations on a Theme by Count Waldstein,” and “Liebeslieder Walzer.” In the last piano four-hand piece, the choir was invited on stage and sang songs of love and romance from composers of the 1800-1900s. Led by Director Byron J. Smith, the choir displayed such class and elegance. The vocal ranges with the sounds of all 88 keys falling perfectly into each lyric made it even more mesmerizing to listen to.
As the recital came to an end, Jonathan found himself in front of an audience on their feet clapping and bring flowers up to him. “Everything is blurry. For the first piece my nerves were definitely hitting ‘cause like while I was playing, I couldn’t help but think of how many people were out there. As it went on it kind of died down, but it felt great knowing all the hard work I put it led me to see the result.” This was Jonathan’s response after seeing a full theater standing and applauding him for his dedication. Jonathan’s short-term goal is to receive a Bachelor’s degree at CSUN in piano performance and eventually want to get a Doctorate Degree as he explores his interests along the way.