Senior Piano Recitals to Showcase Musical Mastery

As the end of the school year draws nearer, Whitman seniors are wrapping up theses, projects and their time at Whitman.

Photo by Alecia Lindsay

For many music majors, this means senior recitals, featuring themselves playing their primary instrument. Two music majors, seniors Kaity McCraw, who is also majoring in religion, and Andrés Crane, who is also majoring in BBMB, both have upcoming senior piano recitals.

Both seniors started playing the piano at a young age.

“When I was in third grade, I was really bad at math, and my mom heard on “Oprah” that [music] was supposed to help with that. So she got me piano lessons, and I really liked it and stuck with it,” said McCraw.

Crane similarly began playing when he was young.

“I’ve played piano since I was five. I’ve always had piano lessons, and I really enjoy playing it. I mean, why stop in college?” said Crane.

Both recitals will cover a broad range of time periods and styles. McCraw’s recital will open with a piece by Samuel Barber, “Nocturne (Homage to John Field) Op. 33.”

“[It’s a] very modern-sounding piece, very chromatic,” she said.

Photo by Alecia Lindsay

The second piece is an ethereal and airy prelude by Sergei Rachmaninoff. According to McCraw, it contrasts very well with the third piece she’ll be playing, a piano reduction of the first and third movements of Phillip Glass’s “Piano Concerto No. 2: After Lewis and Clark.”

“It’s a crazy piece. It’s 24 minutes long,” McCraw said. “It was commissioned for the bicentennial anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The first piece is basically just massive in sound, and it’s kind of relentless. It’s forte the whole time, and it’s an experience. It’s almost like performance art playing it because it’s so relentless. To me, it signifies the grandeur of the idea of the Lewis and Clark expedition …. My interpretation of the third movement is much more lush and romantic. [The movement], to me, depicts what it was like when they actually got here and [saw] the expansiveness of the land and especially the Columbia River.”

Crane’s recital will feature “Prelude & Fugue No.4 in C sharp minor” by J. S. Bach, the finale from “Sonata No. 3 in B minor” by Frédéric Chopin and piano transcriptions of “Somebody Loves Me” and “Do It Again” by George Gershwin.

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Photo by Alecia Lindsay

“I really like [the Gershwin] because its kind of 20th century, kind of popular songs from the 1920s. It’s much more light-hearted, and it sounds nice and it’s fun to play,” Crane said.

Crane’s recital will be a bit unconventional in that he will take the time between pieces to explain the history of each piece and  his interpretation of it as a performer. He described it as a “lecture recital.”

After she graduates, McCraw plans to work in Walla Walla over the summer at a winery and subsequently move to Brooklyn to pursue an internship at a museum. Crane will be taking a year off before pursuing graduate school in the neurosciences. Both seniors hope to keep music and piano in their lives as they follow their respective career paths.

McCraw’s recital will take place on May 11 at 3 p.m. in Chism Hall in the Music Building. Crane’s will happen on the same day at 7:30 p.m.




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