Crowell takes on Carnegie Hall

Two piano students earned spots performing in New York over the summer of 2017.



Courtesy of Katherine Bode and Muli Yu

Samantha Gassaway, Writer

Piano performance majors sophomore Katherine Bode and freshman Muli Yu have a lot to look forward to this summer. After auditioning for the American Protégé contest in the fall of 2016, the two found success and now plan to perform at the historic Carnegie Hall on July 1, 2017.

With less than two months before their performance, the prodigious duo express nervousness but also a stunned disbelief at the reality of the situation. A professor in the conservatory suggested the two play a piano duet to audition, which they were able to record and send into the contest rather than flying all the way to New York City, the location of the famous concert arena.

Q: How did you two come to know and play piano with each other?

A: Bode: “We live like 20 minutes away [from each other], but we take [lessons] from the same teacher. The studio has a lot of recitals where people come together several times, not just once a year. Then we always did a lot of competitions. I started competing at age 11, which is when we met. Then we just became really good friends, so it’s really nice. We got placed to do duets together because we hadn’t really thought about it before.”

Yu: “She came first [to Biola] because she’s a year older, and I kind of heard about it through her… I started piano when I was four.”

Q: Which song did you choose for the competition, and what does the music mean to you?

Y: “We played a piece by [Maurice] Ravel — Rhapsody Espagnole, it’s a Spanish rhapsody. We’re playing the last movement of the piece. He’s a French impressionist composer… It’s just such a great way to express yourself other than words. I hate talking. I’m scared of public speaking, but I feel comfortable performing. It’s really fun to be able to put your feelings into music.”

B: “I think I haven’t really fully grasped that we’re playing at Carnegie. It’s still settling in… It feels really far away, especially in this semester in the next weeks. I haven’t really processed it yet… One thing I really like about music is that it runs across all cultures. I did a missions trip in Romania, and the day after I got there, they were like, ‘By the way, you’re leading worship.’ I was like, ‘What?’ I didn’t speak any Romanian, and the people there didn’t speak any English, but we were able to communicate through music and share music. I’ve just found music to be something I can share with people of all cultures, people of all ages. It’s a thing that everyone likes — different genres, obviously — but it’s something all people can resonate with and appreciate across all boundaries.”

Q: What has music meant to you through your growth as a person?

B: “For me, it’s more about taking music and finding the emotions in it, and finding my own individual personality and emotions that I can insert, and combining that to make it my own work.”

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