When a Senior Recital and Self-Isolation Meet, the Neighbors Benefit

With our students scattered all over the globe, senior music major Luke Hu found himself sheltering-in-place in the Topanga neighborhood of Los Angeles as he closed out his final year at LMU. Typically, our music students are using this time to prepare for arduous juried panels, which then opens the opportunity for them to publicly perform their repertoire in Murphy Recital Hall. But things are a little different this year, and when it came time for Hu to give his senior piano recital, he had an inspired idea – to share the performance with his neighbors. With windows flung open as he performed a variety of works by Debussy, Beethoven, Chopin and Ravel, about 20 neighbors gathered in front of Hu’s house or sat on their lawns with picnics and drinks, while others listened in on a live stream of the hour-long performance – direct from Hu’s living room.

When selecting which works to perform, Hu wanted to demonstrate a balanced mastery of different types of piano literature, including Baroque, Classical, Romantic and contemporary. The preparation for the recital was considerable, representing the culmination of two years of his studies at LMU.

“It took me at least half a year to polish these pieces before I could perform them,” said Hu. “The hardest part is getting comfortable with performing a one-hour long program, which I had never performed that long prior to my graduation recital. My faculty mentor Dr. Wojciech Kocyan was an incredible source of support to me, giving me great advice on how to stay focused and calm while performing.”

As a music and performance major, the most difficult aspect of remote learning for Hu has been managing his time well and staying focused when isolated at home. While that has been challenging, Hu admits that the quiet time has given him a lot more time to practice, and find creative ways to share his considerable talent with his community. He’s now learning new repertoire for application to a master’s program in music, so with any luck more live front lawn concerts are in the works for his neighbors.