A Serbian Summer

Student Matthew Kiple Performs at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference.
Friday, August 19, 2011

It was a summer to remember for Westminster piano major Matthew Kiple.  He performed at the prestigious World Piano Conference in Novi Sad, Serbia. Not only was this his first trip to Europe – it was his first flight on an airplane.

Matthew’s invitation to perform at the conference, which attracts pianists from around the world, came from Dorian Leljak, president of the World Piano Teachers Association.  They met when Matthew participated in a master class that Dr. Leljak conducted at Westminster in March.

For his recital in the Novi Sad Synagogue he performed Chopin’s Nocturnes Op. 48, Nos. 1 and 2, Copland’s Passacaglia, Rachmaninoff’s Étude–tableau Op. 39, No. 5 and Franck’s Prélude, Chorale, et Fugue.

“My time in Serbia was a fantastic experience! “ he says, recalling the experience.  “The recital went very well, and I was fortunate to meet some great musicians and attend many lectures.”

Matthew wasn’t the only member in his family to travel to Europe to perform this summer.  His twin brother, Ryan, a student at Temple University’s Boyer School of Music, was invited to participate in a Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg in August.

Entering his senior year at Westminster, Matthew studies piano with Professor James Goldsworthy, with whom he studied privately while he was in high school. Noting that he came with no experience as a singer, he reflects on what studying piano at Westminster has been like.  “Being in a choir gives me the opportunity to develop my musicianship as part of a large ensemble,” he says.  “It’s improved my sight reading and allows me to make music that’s ‘world class.’”

He also says that touring with Westminster Schola Cantorum as a sophomore was a “great experience,” and he was pleased to be able to perform a prelude before each concert.

At Westminster Matthew has received several academic and performance-related awards, including the Arthur Judson Scholarship for outstanding undergraduate pianists, the John Finley Williamson Award for Musical Excellence and the Westminster Leadership Award.   He’s presented solo and chamber music performances in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center and Temple University’s Rock Hall in Philadelphia and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York. He’s also participated in concerts to benefit the Princeton Arts Council and the Habitat for Humanity’s Musician’s Village, and he was a finalist in the senior and open divisions of the Princeton Festival Piano Competition. As he enters his senior year, he’s considering his options and planning to audition for graduate school.

Matthew wasn’t Westminster’s only representative at the World Piano Conference.  Alumna Carol Gingerich presented a session entitled “The ‘Intermediate” Label: Balancing Technique and Interpretation,” and adjunct faculty member Laura Amoriello presented a session entitled “Addressing Learners’ Needs in the Secondary Piano Class.”

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Matthew Kiple