Piano Master Classes

In addition to her performances, Ms. Rosca teaches and gives master classes specializing in particularly gifted young musicians. Her master classes have been reviewed with acclaim on National Public Radio by music critic John Hammel of The New Jersey Classical Magazine (www.wnti.org):

“Noted Romanian pianist and teacher Georgiana Rosca of Princeton, New Jersey, presented a master class featuring six of her young pupils in a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon of selections from the classical and romantic repertoire. The selections the students presented were based on their own choices. Ms. Rosca coached and guided her students through their presentations with expertise and a heavy dose of soulfulness, constantly urging her musical charges to emphasize emotion and feeling with as much measure as technique, even when performing scales and dexterity exercises.

“Overall, I was struck by the rapport between Ms. Rosca and her students, most particularly their comfort in receiving constructive criticism, on the fly, as it were, in front of an audience that was mainly comprised of their peers. The level of sophistication not only in their musical relationship of teacher and student but in their playing was manifested in their almost immediate ability to transform this criticism into concretely positive performance practice. Keep in mind that this was a true master class and complete performances were not the order of the day. This was an opportunity for performance technique coupled with strong constructive teaching, not only for the person on stage but members of the audience as well.

“The first performer was Sophia Debaun, age 11. This is her fifth year of studying with Ms. Rosca and she chose to perform technical exercises from Czerny’s School of Velocity, Etudes, Op. 299, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 11. Ms. Debaun’s finger dexterity was impressive for one so young. She exhibited an urgency in her willingness to ‘get right into it.’ so to speak. Her energy was evident and Ms. Rosca did a fine job in harnessing this kineticism into more musical phrases by having the pianist mold the music more dynamically. Ms. Rosca also emphasized – not only with Ms. Debaun but with all of the students this afternoon – the value of utilizing the whole body, not just the fingers and wrists, in attaining a sharpened physicality to playing the piano and hence widening the emotional palette. She urged imitation of the singing qualities of the human voice as an integral part of keyboard technique in conveying emotion from the instrument. Ms. Debaun displayed a good rhythmic sense with the left hand and played with very good precision in the fastest passages.

“Jennifer Liu, age 11, has been studying with Ms. Rosca for approximately two years. She chose to perform Mozart’s Fantasia in D Minor. For one whose entire study at the keyboard has only been slightly longer than her tutelage under Ms. Rosca, she not only chose a subtly difficult piece but performed very well. Her use of pedal was excellent and allowed her to establish nuance very early on, albeit not of the Olympian gradations inherent in Mozart’s works, but much more than one would have imagined in a player so relatively young and inexperienced. Her finger work was impressive by and large and, again, Ms. Rosca stressed relating all of the elements in this piece – romance, nuance, a singing operatic sense, color and variety of emotion – to Ms. Liu. Ms. Liu was able to imbue those qualities Ms. Rosca spoke of into her playing.

“Mary Knapp, age 16, has been studying with Ms. Rosca for seven and a half years. She opted to perform Brahms Rhapsody in G Minor. Her sense of the style of the Brahms was very good and she, too, worked the pedals well. Her crossed hands technique was also excellent. Her interpretation suffered somewhat from a lack of the Germanic passion that Brahms embodied. This was immediately picked up by Ms. Rosca who worked the pianist’s attacks more to help attain this inherent quality of the music. Ms. Rosca then went on to explain how to build this music with the appropriate architectural construction and the music’s place in its historical time period. She conveyed the importance of freeing the inner being of the interpreter and the importance of silence and allowing the sound to elongate.

“Andie Bhatt, age 14, a fifth-year student with Ms. Rosca, performed the first movement from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, K. 414, attacking the opening measures with confidence and crisp articulation. Her phrasing and legato were very good and she established a fine presence from the outset. Some passagework tended to be a bit blurry but the general impression she gave was of maturing artistry. Her physicality was emphasized by her use of her lower back in generating energy throughout her phrases. Ms. Rosca was able to help Ms. Bhatt attain even more emotionality with her opening attacks with minimal coaxing. Ms. Rosca also worked with creating more fluidity in her phrases by alterations in posture and attack.

“Vicki Chen, age 16, is in her fifth year of study with Ms. Rosca. She chose Brahms’ Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118. Her sense of phrasing was very much in evidence from the beginning. She developed a cantabile line which came very close to capturing the singing quality Brahms demands in this music. Ms. Chen also reacted positively to Ms. Rosca’s coaching, with immediate turnarounds in her playing, both emotionally and technically, especially in the opening section, where Ms. Rosca illustrated how to bring out and subside the voicings. Miss Chen then replayed the opening to much better effect.

“The last performer in the master class, Benjamin Danielsson, age 11, a third-year student, opted to perform the Kuhlau Sonatina in C Major, Third Movement. Both his articulation and attack were aggressive and firmly established. He exuded confidence in his playing with very good rhythmic elasticity. He, too, benefited from Ms. Rosca’s expert insights into not only the history of the piece but its inherent musical nature as well. She was able to elicit from Mr. Danielsson a steadier sense of phrasing than his tendency to slow down at the ends of phrases.

“All in all, this master class was an illuminating experience. There were bountiful insights into the music performed and a chance for young players/students to perform in a public forum under expertly critical tutelage. The high quality of these young players and their level of exuberance and commitment were refreshing. Congratulations are in order to these fine youngsters and their poise and ability are reflections on Ms. Rosca’s teaching. It is wonderful to see such a high level of love and commitment to one’s craft that Ms. Rosca takes, especially in light of the paucity of opportunities for this sophisticated art form in the public school sector.”

From “Georgiana Rosca Widening The Emotional Palette: Piano Master Georgiana Rosca Teaching Her Students the Art of the Stage as Well as Technique” by John Hammel, Mozart To Motorhead Show, WNTI Radio, 91.9 F.M.

Piano Master Class, Sunday, April 18, 2004, 3:00 P.M., Jacobs Music Center, 2540 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, 08648.