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Pianist Hosts Coveted Master Class

Photo: Marta EspinosTeaching students the art of piano technique and musicality from a European/Spanish perspective, Spanish concert pianist, Marta Espinós, will conduct a master class for three University of St. Thomas piano students at 5 p.m. on Dec. 11 in Cullen Hall. The students will perform for Espinós while receiving her critiques and valuable lessons for improvement.

The three piano students for the master class have been working with Director of the Music Preparatory School and professor of piano Paul Krystofiak’s for several years. The students are Arrianna Ramirez, sophomore piano and music major, James Jurica, freshman piano and music minor and Guinan Scholarship winner, Taylor Simmons, visiting junior piano and music major, and Caleb Kroll, 10th grader at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and in the UST Music Preparatory School. Krystofiak said the Consulate of Spain chose UST piano students for the master class. The repertoire prepared for the master class includes works of Khatchaturian, Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart and Bach.

Espinós is an active searcher of new formulas in order to make classical and contemporary music more approachable and enjoyable to all audiences. Although her repertoire spans from 17th century to contemporary music, Espinós specializes in the period least explored at the modern piano: the Baroque.

Dr. Glenn Garrido, chair of the UST Music Department, said the master class is possible thanks to the Embassy of Spain in Houston, the UST Department of Music and International Studies.

“Interactions like this one help everyone involved to expand and enhance professional references and relationships that are vital for international exchanges,” Garrido said.

Espinós explores the repertoire from a cross-disciplinary perspective, aiming at revealing unconventional aspects of music through lecture concerts, workshops for non-musicians, audiovisual and multimedia shows, thematic recitals and other stage recipes combining the arts.

“It is an invaluable experience for our UST students to be exposed to traditional European training and culture,” Krystofiak said. “There is really no substitute for this type of musical pedagogical experience other than traveling to Spain and studying there."

Krystofiak said the piano students performing for Espinós will be competing in the Texas Young Artists Piano Competition in early February.

“This presents them with a certain edge that some students may not encounter in a larger music school or university,” Krystofiak said. “Thank you to Dr. Glenn Garrido, music chair, for making this master class possible and working as liaison between the Spanish Consulate and the University."

Espinós was a student of Joaquín Achúcarro in the Artist Certificate and Master’s program at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. A winner of the Meadows School of the Arts Annual Concerto Competition, in 2008 Espinós was also a recipient of the Von Mickwitz Prize.

During her stay in the United States, Marta established a close collaborative relationship with the Honorary Consulate of Spain in Dallas, thanks to which she has been invited to perform Spanish piano music on tour in different states.

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