Jeremy Samolesky

Associate professor, Department of Music
College of Liberal Arts

Jeremy Samolesky, a native of Manitoba, Canada, is an associate professor of piano in the Department of Music in the College of Liberal Arts. Samolesky started his position at Auburn in 2007 and has appeared in concert as a soloist and chamber pianist throughout the U.S., Canada, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Serbia, including a full recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., which was broadcast nationally on National Public Radio's "Performance Today."

In addition to teaching, Samolesky maintains a rigorous performance schedule, with recent concert tours of China and Hong Kong, along with over 75 recitals and master classes at universities spanning 15 states throughout the U.S. over the past five years. As a concerto soloist, Samolesky performs regularly with orchestras throughout the U.S. and Canada, with concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Brahms and Rachmaninov. Samolesky's students frequently win competitions and regularly receive prestigious scholarships and assistantships at renowned graduate music programs throughout the U.S. For his achievements, he was awarded the 2012 "Excellence in Teaching" award from Auburn University.

Samolesky currently serves on the executive board of the Alabama Music Teachers' Association and is debuting his solo CD this week with a performance on Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Goodwin Recital Hall.

1. When did you recognize your passion for music?

Since my parents signed me up for piano lessons with a teacher down the street at seven years old, music has always been a very personal outlet of expression for me. I knew from a very young age that I would continue to study music for as long as possible, and I've been fortunate to have my passion become my living!

2. You've performed all over the world. How does performing in Auburn measure up?

It is always a special experience to perform at Auburn in front of the tremendous support of colleagues, students and the community. Also, the small town community-based feel of Auburn makes it such a comfortable place to live, reminding me of the rural area where I grew up in Manitoba, Canada. I hope that my performances inspire and motivate the music students as much as my teachers did for me.

3. Your CD consists of solo piano music by Chopin and Prokofiev. How did you select your pieces?

In selecting the repertoire for the CD, I was attracted to the way that the separate compositions by Chopin and Prokofiev provide distinctively contrasting expressive intentions. I enjoy communicating both of these styles of music: you have Chopin's introspective melancholic beauty alongside Prokofiev's often tumultuous barbarism, which often borders on anti-beauty, in its traditional sense.

4. What is your favorite piece to perform on your CD or for your upcoming concert?

My favorite piece to perform is usually directly related to my mood or state of mind in the moment, but if I had to choose, I would say that I really enjoy playing Prokofiev's 6th piano sonata. Though the music's intensity reaches points of chaos and near violence, I am drawn to its political and social relevance as a piece of art music. It is in many ways a form of protest music in direct response to the political turmoil of pre-WWII Russia that Prokofiev faced at the time of his return in 1936. I find it fascinating to study how traditional expressive barriers in music are erased by such turbulent moments in history.

5. Now that you've made your solo CD, what is your next project?

For the remainder of the semester, I will be touring several universities with recitals and master classes while promoting the CD. Aside from visits to California, Florida, Minnesota and local concerts in Alabama, I am looking forward to my first South American appearances in Medellin and Bogotá (Colombia), and Quito, Ecuador, in November. Similar visits to Thailand and Kenya are in the works for fall of 2015.

Last Updated: Oct. 27, 2014

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