Tony Cardella

Where are you from and what is your major?

Marinette, Wisconsin
Piano performance major

What are your interests/activities/ensembles at Lawrence?

Concert Choir, Appletones a Capella group, rehearsal accompanist for the campus musical, member of the "Top Secret Music Piano Quartet"

What repertoire are you working on right now?

Concerto in G by Maurice Ravel, Excursions by Samuel Barber, Un Sospiro by Franz Liszt, Fireworks by Claude Debussy, Nocturne Op. 48 No. 1 and Etude Op. 25 No. 4 by Frederic Chopin

What's the best concert you've attended at Lawrence?

I really enjoyed the Wu Han, Philip Setzer, and David Finckel trio my freshman year, and Eighth Blackbird this year was really great. Another concert that I want to mention was the performance of Steve Reich's "Music For 18" that I had the opportunity to be involved with this year. I didn't get to have the experience of watching this concert as an observer, but being part of the concert as a performer was a really incredible experience and pushed my musical boundaries in many ways. Also, I had the opportunity to see Evgeny Kissin perform a recital in Chicago fall term this year. I know that wasn't at Lawrence, but it happened during the Lawrence school year and I went with friends from Lawrence so close enough! Also, it was absolutely incredible so I felt like I had to mention it.

What's been your favorite memory at Lawrence?

Hanging out with friends in practice rooms when I should be practicing. :)

What drew you to Lawrence?

I began taking private lessons with Michael Mizrahi my senior year and I just felt that attending Lawrence and studying with him would be the best way to prepare me for graduate studies. I didn’t think that I would find a better fit with any professor anywhere else.

What are your plans for life after Lawrence?

I plan on attending graduate school in piano performance. After that I am not really sure; maybe some time off performing solo/collaborative music, and maybe pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree eventually.

More thoughts:

I am very excited to have the opportunity to study abroad fall term next year in Milan, Italy! I will be part of a piano studio there and am excited to be taking photography and a cooking class taught by an Italian chef as well as some other interesting classes.

Milou de Meij

Where are you from and what is your major?

Bozeman, Montana

Piano Performance Major
Psychology Major
Russian Minor

What are your interests/activities/ensembles at Lawrence?

I work in admissions and as an accompanying fellow at Lawrence. Currently, my activities include Sigma Alpha Iota, Russian and Eastern European Club, and volunteering with Lambda Sigma. I’m also a founding member of four chamber ensembles: a piano duo, an 8 hands piano ensemble, a woodwind quintet, and a horn trio. Next year, I’m also playing in a quintet with strings.

What repertoire are you working on right now?

Beethoven Sonata no. 30 Op. 109, Chopin: Piano Concerto no. 2 Op. 21, Franck: Prelude, Chorale, and Fugue, Lowell Liebermann’s Nocturne no. 11 Op. 112, and a lot of chamber music by Brahms, Dvorak, and Mozart.

What's the best concert you've attended at Lawrence?

Hard to choose just one. Lawrence Brownlee came this year which was so inspiring, and then seeing The Kronos Quartet last year was just incredibly moving. I never really listened to much new music before Lawrence, and the New Music Concert Series has definitely opened my ears up to all the many exciting possibilities there are with sound. Oh and this concert wasn’t at Lawrence, but I went to see Kissin in Chicago with a group of LU piano students, and that probably goes up there as one of the, if not the, best concerts I’ve ever been to in my life so far. Just so deeply moving.

What's been your favorite memory at Lawrence?

There’s a running joke that I spend more time in other people’s practice rooms than my own because I just love talking to other people about music. People always talk about how lonely practicing is, but I don’t think it always has to be. A practice room is like a workshop, and I have learned so much from listening and exchanging ideas with to my peers. My favorite memories are always those discussions that are just so good that hours pass without you even realizing it.

What drew you to Lawrence?

The double degree program and the supportive nature of the school. Lawrence is an environment where everyone really cares about each other and genuinely wants each other to succeed. Amongst students and faculty alike, there’s this excitement and passion for learning that’s palpably contagious, and if you have any questions, concerns, or cool ideas you want to share, someone is always just an email or knock-on-the-door away.

What are your plans for life after Lawrence?

Not quite sure. I know that I want to join the Peace Corps and then maybe go to grad school. I’d love in my future to be able to both conduct research in psychology, speak Russian, and play chamber music with friends. Maybe I will find out some awesome way to combine all three!

Xiaoya Gao

Where are you from and what is your major?

Urumqi, China
Piano Performance (B.Mus.) and History (B.A.)

What are your interests/activities/ensembles at Lawrence?

I am currently in Choir, Opera Scenes, Wind Ensemble, and have a chamber group.

What repertoire are you working on right now?

Beethoven Piano Sonata in B-Flat Major Op.22
Schumann Carnaval Op.9,
Liszt La Campanella

What's the best concert you've attended at Lawrence?

This is hard to answer because there are so many great concerts here. Personally, one of the most impressive ones to me was the performance of Bach’s “St John’s Passion.” I also enjoyed the performers who have visited on the Artist Series such as Lawrence Brownlee and Jeremy Denk… The faculty recitals are amazing. I remember crying in Mr. Padilla’s recital because it was so moving. The Latin American Program this year at Riverview Gardens was impressive too.

What's been your favorite memory at Lawrence?

My favorite memory so far would be having such a great access to so many different types of concerts/recitals almost on a daily basis, and sometimes even three or four (or even more) a day. It made me happy just to listen to a variety of performances.

What drew you to Lawrence?

I was first accepted to Lawrence as a B.A. student. I had dreamed about going to a music school when I was little, but it never came true for various reasons. However, Lawrence gave me another chance. I found out about the conservatory and was guided by my teacher and advisors through the audition process during Fall term of my freshman year. Lawrence nurtures me. One of the most meaningful things I learned here is that the "impossible" can be achieved if one has the drive to achieve it.

What are your plans for life after Lawrence?

I still have three more years to go so I’m not sure yet. I plan to attend grad school. As a double-degree student in piano and history, it’s hard to decide which way to choose in the future, but I will certainly have more choices ahead of me, and I am excited about that.

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