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Alumni Profile: Jeremy Jordan

​An alum of the DePaul Community Music Division (CMD), Jeremy Jordan began piano studies at the age of four with his parents Mark and Verna. He came to the CMD when he was nine years old to study with Regina Syrkin and in that same year gave a televised performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1. Other on-air appearances include a radio performance on From the Top in 2005 as part of the Mephisto Trio and a televised solo performance on NPR in 2007 as part of From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall.

After winning the 2006 Steinway Piano Concerto Competition, Jeremy made his orchestral debut with Maestro Alan Heatherington and the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra performing Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1. He made his European debut six months later with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Music Director Maestro Paul Freeman. A repeat performance was given in 2007 with the Chicago Sinfonietta at Symphony Center. An active composer as well as performer, Jeremy's Fantasie No. 3 for piano won first place in the Music Teachers' National Association's Young Composers Competition, and his Nocturne for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon was premiered on NPR.

Jeremy studied piano with Matti Raekallio on the Howard & Ethel B. Ross Scholarship, the Bruno Raikin Memorial Piano Scholarship, and the Van Cliburn Scholarship at The Juilliard School.

Q: How were you first introduced to music?

Both of my parents are musicians. Some of my aunts, uncles, and cousins are also musicians. Since I was surrounded by it at an early age, it was only natural for me to join the club.

Q: Where do you hope that your music will one day take you?

I hope that I can eventually create a genre of music that is widely popular, easily understood, and still artistically valuable. This is an enormous goal. If I reach it, I will be more than satisfied.

Q: As a composer yourself, which composers/musicians do you really admire? Do you have a favorite piece?

I love all music so much that it's very difficult for me to choose a favorite composer or piece. But the composer I most admire is Ludwig van Beethoven. After losing his hearing (perhaps the most important thing for a career in music) he continued to achieve unimaginable goals. Many people would have despaired, but Beethoven used his inner ear and his love for music to create some the most beautiful art the world has ever known. If he could surmount these difficulties, then so can we.

Just for kicks, some of my favorite pieces are Beethoven's Piano Sonatas Op. 101, 106, and 110, Chopin's Fourth Ballade, Bach's Christmas Oratorio and St. Matthew Passion, Wagner's Gotterdammerung, and Scriabin's piano sonatas.

Q: What performance stands out as particularly memorable?

The performance of Prokofiev's first Piano Concerto with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra is by far the most memorable. It was my first time playing outside of the United States, and only my second time playing with an orchestra.

Q: When you are not playing/writing music, what are your interests?

I love to play basketball and swim. I also have a huge interest in physics and really enjoy building things.

Q: What did you learn at the Community Music Division that has stuck with you all these years?

Perhaps the most important thing I learned at CMD is that preparation is essential for a successful performance. I often performed on studio recitals and I realized that I would always perform better if I practiced carefully and thoroughly. This may seem like an obvious conclusion - but it helps to keep this in mind while practicing. You know that if you practice well, your performance will be great. That's always encouraging.

Q: How did your time studying with Regina Syrkin at the Community Music Division prepare you for your current studies at Julliard?

She taught me that a successful performance only comes through attention to detail. Though each one may seem small, they work together to create the elaborate tapestry that is the entire piece. This concept is one that is universal. Even Horowitz and Rachmaninov had to do it - and it always works.

Q: What advice would you give to young musicians?

My advice would be to listen to as much music as possible. Absorb everything valuable from the music that you can, and then apply it to your own musical goals. By learning from the musical past you can plan a future for yourself and be instrumental in the development of new music.

Try to learn about composers and the pieces that you are playing. You will often find that the story behind the music can make it more interesting to practice. By knowing what the composer was trying to achieve, your interpretations will become clearer and more profound.