Westminster Choir College announces Rinaldi Steinway Westminster Piano Alumni Series

Series features piano program graduates

Five talented Westminster Choir College graduates will return to campus this season to participate in a new Westminster alumni recital series. The Rinaldi Steinway Westminster Piano Alumni Series features alumni of Westminster’s piano program performing a wide range of works for piano, ranging from Baroque to contemporary, Romantic to Jazz and more. This series is generously sponsored by Bob Rinaldi and the Jacobs Music Company. 

The inaugural season includes performances by Gonzalo Aguilar ’17 on Sunday, October 6; AnnaLotte Smith ’17 on Sunday, November 17; Phil Orr ’96, ’98 on Sunday, December 8; John Franek ’18 on Sunday, February 16; and Radek Materka ’98 on Sunday, April 19.  All performances are at 3 p.m., and all but Phil Orr’s, are in Bristol Chapel with free admission.  Phil Orr’s performance – Phil Orr and More – is presented as part of the Holidays at Westminster concert series in the Robert L. Annis Playhouse.  Ticket information is available at


Gonzalo Aguilar ’17 - Sunday, October 6, 3 p.m.
After graduating from Peru’s National Conservatory with the highest accolades and the National Conservatory of Music Award, Gonzalo Aguilar was invited to attend the Golandsky Institute Summer Symposium at Princeton University. While enrolled in Westminster’s master’s program in Piano Pedagogy and Performance, he performed Liszt's Piano Concerto N.1 in E Flat Major with the Westminster Community Orchestra. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in many prestigious venues in his home country. His recent performances include a piano recital at the Richter Haus for the Quedlinburg Art Association in Germany, a recital of Peruvian music with oboist William Wielgus of the National Symphony Orchestra at the International Student House in Washington, D.C.  and a recital and master classes at the Prague Conservatory, presented by the Peruvian embassy.  A student of Ingrid Clarfield, he will perform works by Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninoff. 

AnnaLotte Smith ’17 - Sunday, November 17, 3 p.m.
AnnaLotte Smith has performed throughout the United States and Europe and has been critically hailed for her moving performances on both sides of the Atlantic. Winner of the Grand Prix at the Baden Württemberg International Piano Competition, Germany, she has performed two solo concert tours in England. Her recent performances include the 2019 Classical Bridge Festival hosted by New York Concert Artists, the 2019 Accademia Pianistica Summer Festival in Imola, Italy, and recitals at Steinway Hall in New York and Trinity Church in New Orleans.  She also serves on the piano faculty at Westminster Conservatory, where she is also Assistant Director of the Honors Music Program. A student of Ena Bronstein Barton, she will perform works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Fauré and Rachmaninoff.  LEARN MORE

Phil Orr ’96, ’98 & More: Jingle Bell Jazz  - Sunday, December 8, 3 p.m.

A double Westminster Choir College alum (‘96, Sacred Music; ‘98, Composition), Phil Orr leads Phil Orr & More, and freelances broadly as soloist, collaborative pianist, arranger. and composer in the Philadelphia-New York corridor. The accompanist for Vic Damone and Sandler & Young in the 1970s, Orr now improvises life around performances with Jason Kravits’ Off the Top!, hosting the weekly Jazz On Broad series at the Hopewell Valley Bistro and accompanying the seasonal Sing Along With Sculpture events with sculptor/founder J. Seward Johnson at Grounds For Sculpture. His eclectic compositions in a variety of genres have been performed in over 150 venues in five countries and earned him awards from ASCAP and a fellowship from the NJ State Council on the Arts.  He will be joined by Michael O’Brien, bass, and Sean Dixon, percussion, to performing jazz arrangements of holiday favorites.  Note: This performance is a ticketed event and also a part of Holidays at Westminster series.  Tickets go on sale Friday, November 1. LEARN MORE

John Franek ’18 - Sunday, February 16, 3 p.m.
John Franek is a composer and pianist with degrees Theory & Composition and Piano Performance from Westminster Choir College.  He has performed and premiered his own works on three continents and has given concerts throughout the United States.  An avid researcher and performer of Mozart, he is currently touring his “Franek & Mozart” lecture-concert in which he aims to provide the listeners with a new perspective on the emotional range of Mozart’s music. He premiered his Piano Concerto No.1 with the Central Jersey Symphony Orchestra and his work Affektenlehre: Concert for Keyboard & Strings at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. He has recorded extensively as a solo artist, most recently releasing an album composed entirely of solo keyboard works by Mozart on DoubleV Digital Recordings.
A student of Phyllis Lehrer, he will perform works by Mozart, Beethoven, C.P.E. Bach, Lachenmann, Rihm and Franek.  LEARN MORE

Radek Materka ’98 - Sunday, April 19, 3 p.m.
Radek Materka has presented solo recitals and chamber music concerts in North and South America, Europe and Asia. In 2019 he performed in several concertos with orchestras throughout Latin America. He has recorded two recitals for television and the Mexican Radio Institute. Materka is a full-time tenured Professor of Piano at the School of Music of the National Fine Arts Institute in Mexico City where he works with highly gifted young pianists. His students have been prizewinners and finalists in several national and international piano competitions in Mexico, Spain and Costa Rica. This past summer he was invited to present piano master classes and pedagogy sessions for teachers at the John Perry Academy of Music’s Summer Festival in Los Angeles. A student of Ingrid Clarfield, he will perform works by Liszt, J.S. Bach, Chopin, Glass, Szymanowski and Kisielewski. LEARN MORE