This 17-year-old pianist studies music at West Hartford, Connecticut’s famed Hall High School, the launching pad for Brad Mehldau and other acclaimed keyboard artists.
First memory of hearing piano: I remember being entranced by Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” when I was around seven. I was obsessed with that piece. I had to learn how to play it.
Age lessons began: Four years old.
Musical influences: Regina Spektor is my musical hero. Other influences include Radiohead, Queen, Arturo Sandoval, and Miles Davis.
Favorite style to play: Latin Jazz. I also enjoy jazz/classical combinations, like Claude Bolling’s suites for flute and piano—especially Baroque & Blue. I also love saxophonist Charlie Parker’s work with strings. Classical/jazz combinations are the most fun for me to play.
Worst gig nightmare: Being led to believe I’m providing background music at a party, when it’s actually a formal performance. That’s happened to me a few times!
How important is traditional music training?
Very. It makes playing, writing and improvising so much easier. But more important than training is creativity and passion for what you’re playing. Listening to the greats is better musical training than any formal training.
Most wanted keyboard: A Fender Rhodes.
Use of recording technology: Recording helps me write songs. I can piece together strings of melodies, harmonies, backgrounds, and form the structure from hearing the parts I’ve already recorded, building around that.