Janice Carissa

Masterclass: Sunday, October 9, 2022 · 4:00pm


1) Rebecca Zhang Mozart: Sonata in C Major K330

I. Allegro Moderato

6th grader, and 11 year old Rebecca Zhang, attends Kromrey Middle School in Middleton. Rebecca started lessons at the age of 7, and is a student of Lana Robotewskyj. As a WYSO member, Rebecca plays the violin in Concert Orchestra, and piano in the Chamber Groups, coached by Professor Karen Boe. Rebecca has played in a masterclass for Professor Kaju Lee, trophied in last year’s Sonatina Festival, and last year, was selected to perform in Madison Area Music Educators’s prestigious Honors Festival Recital. Rebecca enjoys performing/sharing music with her friends, is an avid book worm, and is working on improving her game of tennis.

2) Levin Zhang Isaak Berkovich: Toccata

5th grader and 10 year old Levin Zhang, attends Glacier Creek Middle School in Cross Plains and started piano study with Kangwoo Jin at the age of 7. Levin’s extensive competitive resume of winning 1st place includes the 2022 WMTA State Badger Competition (grade 4), the 2022 World Music Artists International Competition, the 2021 Charleston International Music Competition, and the Sonatina Festivals in ’20 and 21’. Levin won 2nd place in the 2020 South California International Competition and 3rd place in the Musician’s West Competition in 2018. Aside from dabbling in piano, Levin loves making handmade architecture models. Be sure to ask him of this!

3) Sophia Jiang Chopin: Ballade No. 3, A Flat Major, opus 47

15 year old Sophia Jiang started piano at the age of 4, and is a sophomore at Vel Philips Memorial High School and a current student of Bill Lutes. Sophia’s most recent accolades include being the first place winner of the Chippewa Valley Symphony’s Young Artist Competition, the Madison Symphony Orchestra Bolz Young Artist Competition (the Final Forte), the Walter A. and Dorothy J. Oestreich Concerto Competition of the Concord Chamber Orchestra, and the representative of Wisconsin in the MTNA National Student Competitions in the Junior Piano category. Besides music, Sophia also excels in tennis. She partnered with her sister Jessica as a doubles team and was placed 4th in the 2020-21 WIAA Alternate
Girls Tennis State Individual Tournament. The duo was featured in the Wisconsin State Journal for their feat. Sophia also reached the top 32 in 2021 WIAA Girls Tennis State Individual Tournament in the singles draw.

Janice Carissa appeared by arrangement with The Curtis Institute of Music.

Masterclass Review
Three Madison area piano students had the exquisite opportunity to perform in a masterclass
for Indonesian pianist, Janice Carissa. Janice stunned her captive audience the night before,
performing works by Brahms, Prokofiev, and ended with an encore piece by Jaya Suprana.
Janice, having completed her undergrad studies at Curtis, and now starting her graduate
studies at Juilliard, is as talented in her approach to young aspiring piano students, as she is to
the piano itself. Her flair for vivid vocabulary, imaginative analogies, and demonstrative
demeanor, made for many smiles and further implemented the motivation to practice, and
continue to improve. Janice’s energy is infectious and understanding of music is wise beyond
her years. Janice is outstanding as a performer, and pedagogue.

The masterclass was held at Farley’s House of Pianos on October 10th at 4:00. Students of
Kangwoo Jin, Bill Lutes, and Lana Robotewskyj performed pieces by Berkovich, Chopin, and
A summation of all three pianists can be made, and applied to anyone, working on any piece.
Masterclasses are a great way to learn and further improve your own teaching, as well as your
own playing, in addition to your students. Everyone learns at a masterclass! Notes from this
weekend include the below.

  1. Be present with each note. Never stop listening. Each note is representative of a new
  2. Resist the temptation to anticipate, because anticipation results in a rushed and hurried
    tempo. Finish out the idea or sentence, and with a small breadth, start the new.
  3. Shape the octaves to allude more of a legato sound, and expressive quality.
  4. Pay extreme attention to dynamics and pedal. As the composers put forth much effort into
    directives, the least we can do is study them, and realize them in our playing,
  5. Always envision yourself in a concert hall and remember, your voicing needs to carry to the
    very back of the room. Project your melody over the harmony.
  6. Always tell a vivd story in your playing.
  8. Envision yourself climbing steps…apply this to evenly crescendo and diminuendo
  9. Connect first without pedal…do not rely on the pedal to do the work of your fingers.
  10. Experiment with all layers of the pedal. Pedal should be used, but with discretion.
  11. Map out the dynamics. Make sure your forte is louder than your mf. Dynamics are all
    relative to one another.
  12. Experiment with different wrist techniques to enable easier playing: rotation of the wrist is a
    great technique.
  13. Know the definitions of words used throughout the score. For instance; cadenza. Cadenza
    should sound improvisatory.
  14. Some phrases require larger arm gestures. Experiment with choreography at the piano to
    help bring out that, which needs to be heard.
  15. Think of your music as voices having a dialogue; question and answer.
  16. Experiment with fingerings for harder passages. Sometimes all it takes is the tweaking of
    finger choice,
  17. HEAR it BEFORE you PLAY it.
  18. Sing with your playing to sound as though your fingers are speaking.
  19. Always focus on horizontal playing, not vertical.
    Thank-you Janice for sharing your talents with our students. We are all very lucky to have
    worked with you! Best wishes on furthering your career and we hope to see you back