On Tuesday, Stephen Thomas, associate dean of faculty development, created a connection between the music of Frédéric Chopin and his history as a composer.
Thomas performed six piano pieces from Chopin.
Between playing each piano piece, Thomas shared the trials, love and sorrow that led Chopin to receive inspiration for his greatest masterpieces.
The lecture portion of the performance created an environment where listeners could travel back in time and ponder about the past, all while Chopin’s music filled the room.
“It was remarkable all the way through the performance and the lecture,” said Jayson Lim, a BYU-Idaho student and eventgoer.
This is the third lecture of a four-event project created by Thomas. He performed two lectures last semester and will finish the project this semester.
Each lecture he’s prepared took a total of 50-60 hours of study and practice. His studies have led him to find connections and emotions within previously composed music.
“Composers try to capture their experience as human beings and put it in the form of music in a way that is understandable to others,” Thomas said.
For this January recital, Stephen Thomas researched and worked with Ann Schein, a pianist who has performed Chopin’s musical works professionally.
Thomas practiced many of Chopin’s compositions with Schien over Zoom.
During the spring of 2020, Thomas felt a lack of purpose due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He formulated an idea to continue his repertoire of composers and their piano pieces by doing a faculty learning fellowship project. For this project, Thomas decided to learn all of Chopin’s nocturnes.
“I hope that people who come to these recitals become curious about music in general — Chopin in particular — and introduces to them a level of interest they didn’t have before,” Thomas said.
The fourth and final performance in Thomas’ four-part project is scheduled for March 14.
The upcoming project will focus on modern composers. Deborah Kavasch, a composer and soprano, will say a few words during this last event.