Pianist Emely Phelps will perform a recital at the Reston Community Center, Lake Anne on Wednesday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. This free recital will include works of Rachmaninoff, Haydn and Chopin. Phelps, a Julliard student from Maryland who originally took lessons in the local area, returns to play for one night. Phelps took some time to answer a few questions via e-mail.
Where are you from? I have lived in Frederick, Md. for over 15 years, although I am currently attending college in New York City. My connections to Northern Virginia are that I studied piano with Dr. Marjorie Lee of Vienna for eight and a half years, and that my father is currently the CFO of Millennium Bank, which is headquartered in Reston.
Family: My parents, Dale and Betsy, live in Frederick with my sister, Erin, a 15-year-old violinist.
Education: I am a sophomore at the Juilliard School in New York City, pursuing a bachelor of music degree.
Current job/primary occupation? My primary occupation is being a full-time student, but I also participate in my school’s work-study program, serving as both an usher and a library assistant. Additionally, I freelance as an accompanist both in New York and Maryland.
Achievements. I have won numerous piano competitions, including the National Symphony Orchestra Young Soloists’ Competition and the Beethoven Society of America’s Maria Fisher Piano Competition. I was also the four-time winner of the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association Concerto Competition. In high school, I earned the Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, by organizing and presenting a concert series featuring talented young musicians from Frederick County.
Activities/interests/hobbies? One of my favorite activities is student-rushing; I attend as many concerts as possible in Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and on Broadway, and have discovered numerous ways to obtain cheap tickets, from standing room, to lotteries, to cancellation lines. I also enjoy reading and crossword puzzles.
Favorite local restaurant? Uno's Chicago Grill
What are your community concerns? I would like to see increasing opportunities for young persons interested in entering the performing arts. Since funding for arts programs in public schools is continually being reduced, I think it is important for the community to provide ways for youth to nurture their talents.
What brought you here? My high school teacher, Marjorie Lee, suggested that I give a recital at the Lake Anne Community Center. She has had some students perform here in the past and recommended it to me as a great venue for this occasion.
What did you want to be when you "grew up?" I have always known that I wanted to become a musician. When I was younger, I imagined myself traveling around the world as a performing artist and even attended “Career Day” in first grade dressed as a concert pianist. Ironically, I also dreamed of attending Juilliard and remember that one of my favorite books was about a young pianist who moved to New York just to attend the school.
Where do you see yourself in five years? It is very difficult to envision my life five years from now, because as a musician it is impossible to predict what path a career might take. I would love to remain in New York because it is such an exciting and stimulating environment. I will most likely be continuing my studies at the graduate level, and see myself performing more frequently, perhaps with some private students on the side.
Personal goals? My ultimate goal is still to become a concert artist. Many of the most powerful experiences of my life have occurred while listening to music, and I want others to have similar encounters. I would be especially interested in performing with my sister; the two of us are extremely close and our relationship is strengthened by a special, intangible connection we have when we play together. I consider myself to be extremely blessed, supported by a loving family and surrounded by caring friends and mentors. I truly feel that my musical ability is a gift, and whether or not these goals are achieved, I am fulfilled by the joy I experience every time I sit down at the piano and play.
The Reston Community Center at Lake Anne, is located at 1609-A Washington Plaza, Reston. For more information contact 703-476-4500 or visit www.restoncommunitycenter.com. See The Connection calendar listings for more recitals and performances.