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Music festival to spotlight 20th/21st-century piano compositions

  • Photo of hands playing a piano
  • Photo of the New Music Ensemble
  • Bill Ryan, New Music Ensemble director

Posted on October 26, 2017

Sixty grade school musicians from across Michigan, as well as Grand Valley State University faculty and students, will celebrate 20th- and 21st-century piano music with a day of recitals during the 20th/21st-Century Piano Music Festival.

The festival will include multiple 50-minute recitals from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on October 28 featuring solos performed by students ranging in grade level from first grade through high school. All performances will take place in the Sherman Van Solkema Recital Hall (room 1325), located in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts.

Several Grand Valley piano students will also perform throughout the festival, including Yushan Ying, Reese Rehkopf, Rebekah Shomsky, Alisa Loew, Annelise Trout, Alyssa Kaiser and Da sol Um. Grand Valley’s award-winning New Music Ensemble, which recently released its 4th commercial CD, entitled “Return,” will also perform, as well as multiple faculty.

This year’s composer-in-residence will be Bill Ryan, director of the New Music Ensemble and professor of composition. For the festival, Ryan composed “Tiny Machines,” which will be performed for the first time by Rehkopf and Shomsky.

On-hand to provide feedback to students about their performances will be guest judge and pianist Scott Cuellar, who has performed solo recitals at major venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in China, among others. Cuellar earned a master’s degree in music from The Juilliard School and is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.

For more information, call the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at (616) 331-3484 or visit