By Nicholas Straub and Kevin Kim
On Sept. 25, senior William Calix performed for his Senior Piano Recital at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Downtown Los Angeles. He performed pieces such as “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy and “Aria” by Eugene Bozza, a piece which he played as a duet with his brother.
Calix, who has been playing piano since the age of nine, studies with instructor Jeffrey Lavner. Lavner helped Calix prepare for his last major performance of his pre-college music career. When asked about the preparation for the recital, Calix talked about the effort he had to put in for the recital’s success.
“I was practicing at least four and a half hours a day, often more, because a lot of the pieces I’ve been playing are extremely long and articulate.”
As a frequent performer, Calix describes the experience of performance anxiety and how he overcame it in his Senior Recital, despite the large audience.
“Playing for huge crowds is extremely nerve-wracking. I always get scared that I might forget my pieces or make huge mistakes that are hard to recover from, which has happened a couple times no matter how much I prepared; however, for this recital, I simply thought to myself that the music I produce would be for the enjoyment and hearts of the audience, so my anxiety went down.”
In his nine years of playing piano, Calix said that the sensations he feels during his performances are incomparable, unique and ineffable.
“When I perform, especially when I really connect with the piece, I think of nothing,” Calix Said. “My mind goes blank and I just play what comes to my fingers. It’s a hard feeling to explain, but I play best when my mind is clear.”
With his love for music, Calix said that playing piano is a valuable talent but not a career he foresees himself pursuing.
“I definitely want to continue studying piano because I believe it’s a talent I shouldn’t lose, but I don’t want to continue it as a career because it is so hard to do well in the music industry. A lot of the time, you put in ridiculous amounts of work and it goes unappreciated.”
Instead of pursuing music as a career of its own, Calix said he wants to create an organization to continue the spread of classical music culture, especially in the coming generations.
“I want to go into business and become successful so I can create a foundation that will work to interest the younger generation in real music.”