Hong plays own twist on original work
Pianist Alpin Hong performed classical songs in the Barrus Concert Hall on Sept. 28, as well as a few songs from Star Wars and Super Mario Brothers.
Before the show, Hong took time to play the piano with some students in the Eliza R. Snow Center for the Performing Arts to give them advice.
“You have to ask yourself, ‘Do you really love it, where you can’t live without it?” Hong said. “If it isn’t to that level of commitment, you’re going to have a horrible time, because you’ll be going up against people who answered that question for themselves when they were five and have been working every day since then.”
Hong started playing piano when he was four, but he originally planned to be a doctor.
He later realized he wasn’t cut out for it and decided to do music instead.
“People ask me, ‘What made you get started?’ They want some profound answer. My mom made me. Just like everybody else,” Hong said.
Hong said he enjoys that music is such a universal language.
“Music supersedes those restrictions (with language) and allows you to communicate and hang out with people of vastly different background,” Hong said.
He also is fascinated by how music is inherently changing.
“That’s what I love about it; it’s a constantly developing challenge. As far as just for classical piano music, there isn’t enough hours allotted to my lifetime to be able to play all the music written for the piano.”
Hong doesn’t just play the piano, though; he also enjoys playing video games, snowboarding and skateboarding, and he used to do martial arts before he hurt his fingers.
“But I’ll never put down the dream of being a ninja when I grow up,” Hong said.
Hong has mostly played classical music, but he has tried his hand at a couple of other genres as well.
“I’ve started to go into jazz a little bit, I’ve played with rock bands recently, and it’s my secret dream to be a video game composer,” Hong said. “Because I learned how to read music, all I need is the score or my ear to go into somewhere else.”
Rebekah Guy, a freshman majoring in general studies, said she thought the performance was amazing.
“I enjoyed how emotional he makes things,” Guy said. “I also really enjoyed the choice of music that he had.”
Some also enjoyed Hong’s unique style of performing and his originality.
“He had his own spin on all the music; he had his own voice in there. He wasn’t trying to sound like another great pianist; he sounded like himself playing piano,” said Katelyn Gilbert, a sophomore studying piano performance.