After nearly a five-year hiatus, the Gold Country Piano Institute returns to the Miners Foundry Cultural Center with The Alumni Series, a concert and master class by acclaimed pianist Pauline Yang, that hopes to attract a new audience of classical music lovers.
Tonight, Yang will perform the works of such greats as Bach, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Rachmaninoff in the Stone Hall at the Foundry. Then Sunday, Yang will offer a Master Class to intermediate and advanced pianists where they will receive detailed, insightful comments that will help them examine their repertoire with a new perspective.
Yang began her piano studies at the young age of five. She made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut, as well as her solo recital debut, at Carnegie Hall at the age of 11 and enrolled at the Julliard School’s Pre-College Division later that year.
In 2000 at the age of 13, Yang traveled to Nevada City to attend the Gold Country Piano Institute. She has since performed throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Her performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio, Los Angeles’ KUSC and the New York Times’ WQXR classical music radio stations. In 2008, Yang was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 College Women of the Year.
“To be returning to Nevada City and to perform for one of my all-time favorite audiences is truly such a treat for me,” said Yang. “So many people from this tremendous arts-loving community have watched me grow up from when I was first in Nevada City as a 13-year-old at GCPI. They have continued to be incredibly supportive of me over the years. This audience and this community are very special and dear to my heart, and I cannot wait to be back this month.”
Founded in 1999, the Gold Country Piano Institute’s mission was to instill serious young American piano students with the realization that they could achieve excellence at a young age by giving them opportunities to study with master piano instructors and to interact with young virtuosi from around the world in an innovative and intensive piano master course.
It was a unique opportunity for the local community to experience teachers and students from all over the world, while they perfected their craft.
There were many students who came to the Piano Institute and “grew up” with it, returning year after year. Students were housed in private homes and developed a bond with the people who live here. Now grown, many of these students are professional musicians.
The Alumni Series will bring these students back to the community to perform and to teach. For nearly 10 years, every June, the institute and the former Twin Cities Concert Association (now InConcert Sierra) would present a world-class performance by visiting pianists in the Foundry’s Stone Hall.
In 2008, in the wake of the Great Recession, Gold Country Piano Institute decided to go on a hiatus.
“We’ve always considered the Miners Foundry our home, so when Gretchen Bond from the Foundry called Julie Cobden and me to ask if we would be interested in reigniting GCPI, we thought it was perfect timing,” said Andrea Fox, pianist and teacher. “Pauline was our first choice to launch the series. She’s highly accomplished but doesn’t take herself too seriously. Her playing is so moving that it will break your heart, but it can also be light and playful.”
Gold Country Piano Institute and the Foundry believe the series will reach a new audience of music enthusiasts who remember attending the performances as young adults and are now excited to share that experience with their own family.
“GCPI has contributed so invaluably to my life and career,” said Yang. “Through GCPI, I had the opportunity to go perform and study in Warsaw one summer when I was 14. That, too, remains one of my favorite memories, and it was entirely due to this institute and community.”