By John A. Barry And Bill Carmel
Downbeat on The CornerUploaded: Feb 19, 2013
Seoul-born Stephanie Chang has the credentials to teach music: a bachelor's degree from the Eastman School; a master's from Yale; and six years of study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg under the late renowned concert violinist Ruggiero Ricci, who was known for his "devilish Paganini technique." Then, after being a "nomad" for several years, teaching at various schools and "gigging around," she recently opened Music Corner at 390 Railroad Avenue in Danville. There she teaches violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano.
"I had always wanted to do this, in a place I liked and where I wanted to stay a long time--not move around so much. Among the places she has taught and played: the L.A. area; Reno; Salzburg; and Wilbraham, Massachusetts.
Music Corner is bright and inviting and features a rebuilt Andrew Kohler baby grand piano as its centerpiece. Her enterprise has been open for only a few weeks, and already she has 20-plus students. Although she is classically trained, she tries to match each student with the teaching method she feels is best for that person.
Chang, who started playing piano at age 5 and violin at 9, says that she put everything she had into her music studio, and she is determined to make it succeed. Toward that end, she has a consultant advising her on the best ways to attain that success. She envisions eventually having recitals by students and teachers in the studio and is working with the also new Tate Gallery to put on chamber music performances in that venue. Additionally, she plans to open the studio to poets and artists from other fields.
In the private academies where she has taught, Chang recalls, the focus was too much on the bottom line at the expense of the music and the teachers. "It was unfair." In light of her experiences, she hopes to be able to bring in teachers of other instruments and compensate them fairly for their efforts. "The starving artist" mentality goes back hundreds of years, she notes. "It's the twenty-first century. Why should it still be like that?"
On February 16, Chang and classical guitariest Glenn Staller performed duets at the Tate Gallery. On the program were pieces by Fauré, Paganini, and Piazolla.
More information: www.musicatthecorner.com; 925-856-7190; 925-856-7200.
John A. Barry is a writer and avocational artist. To share anything art-related or to pitch a story idea, call him at 314-9528 or email [email protected]