“This is the first recital we’re hosting that isn’t all classical,” says George C. Ko ’15, co-president of the Harvard College Piano Society. The group will hold its fall recital Thursday in the Kirkland Junior Common Room. “It’s kind of breaking this convention of, ‘Oh, it has to be Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart.’”
The HCPS, which remained largely inactive for several years but has recently enjoyed a revitalization, will instead present a program that celebrates the diverse uses of piano across genres. The recital will include jazz, a student composition, and Brazilian music performed by Co-President Allen L. Yuan ’15, among other pieces. “Piano is used in all different types of genres, and we want to bring that kind of color to our recitals,” Ko says.
When Ko and Yuan joined the club, which was founded in 2000, it had organized few events and had little campus presence for several years, Ko says. He and Yuan say they now lead a group with a mailing list of over 100 subscribers and an expected recital attendance of at least 50. George X. Fu ’13, who has been a member since last year, says there had already been demand for a revival of the organization when he joined. “I had a lot of friends who wanted the same thing, and this obviously had the support of a lot of faculty members,” Fu says. “But for some reason or other, the plan just didn’t align the right way, and it never really happened.”
With the initiative of Fu and former Crimson design chair Danielle Kim ’12, co-presidents last year, the HCPS began introducing new programs and reviving old ones: this year’s programming ranges from Berryline mixers to master classes with world-famous pianists. Members include students from the College as well as graduate students and even professors, and not all are piano players. “If you just want to come to our events, you’re all welcome; it doesn’t matter if you play piano or not,” Yuan says.
Maintaining its openness to newcomers, HCPS focuses less on performance than on appreciation, Ko says. The group fosters collaborative playing and improvisation in regular get-togethers, with a flexible attitude toward music that is reflected in the recital program. “We don’t want to be a source for competition, but a source for making music,” Ko says.