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Prodigy takes it 'From the Top' at BGSU PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Friday, 20 September 2013 10:10
File photo. Patrick Pan, 14, of Houston, Texas, internalizes the music during his performance at the 2013 Dubois Piano Competition at Kobacker Hall. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
In February, Patrick Pan was in Bowling Green dazzling listeners and judges with his piano playing.
He won the Dubois Piano Competition.
Impressing people comes easily for the 15-year-old from Houston, Texas.
He's won honors for his performance on piano and violin, and for his achievements in math and science. He won the state MathCounts competition at 12 and dissected a sheep's brain at 4.
Having already passed about a dozen Advanced Placement courses with the top grade, he's already looking toward college with Columbia and Harvard topping his list.
If people make a big deal about these accomplishments, Pan reacts modestly. "Usually I try not to make a big deal about it."
Not that he's shy about sharing his talents.
He founded the string quartet at  Clear Lake High School that performs in nursing homes, libraries as well as for competitions.
He's performed as a piano soloist with the Houston Symphony. And earlier this year he was putting the finishing touches on his application to appear on  NPR's "From the Top."
The radio show, hosted by pianist Christopher O'Riley, features the top classical musicians ages 8 to 18  from around the country.
Pan, the son of Dr. Y.S. and Rouza Pan, said by telephone this week that he was proofreading his application for the show when he got a call from the program's production staff informing him he would appear on "From the Top" during the live taping of the program at BGSU.
O'Riley, Pan and several other top musicians will present the live taping of "From the Top," Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center on campus. It is the kickoff performance of the College of Music's Festival Series.
Pan said he finds performing for radio "an exhilarating experience."
Performing under pressure is nothing new. He started playing piano at 3 and began competing shortly thereafter.
He picked up violin at 7. He's concertmaster of Houston Youth Symphony. While he won competitions on that instrument as well, his musical interests gravitated toward piano.
He's looking forward to returning to Bowling Green. He said he enjoyed the Dubois competition, especially since the Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe of the Anderson and Roe Duo served as guest judges.
The piano duo known for their daring music videos are his favorite artists, he said. And he got to see them perform live for the first time at BGSU.
Pan, who studies with John Weems., will share the "From the Top" spotlight with other young artists
Quartet Lumiére, first place winners of the Junior Division of the 2013 Fischoff National Chamber Music
Competition, will perform the first movement from String Quartet No. 1 in G minor by Edvard Grieg. Based at The Academy at the Music Institute of Chicago where Marko Dreher is their coach, members are 18-year-old violinist Rebecca Benjamin, 16-year-old violinist Gallia Kastner, 15-year-old violist Mira Williams, and 15-year-old cellist Josiah Yoo.
Quartet Lumiére will also perform the fourth movement, "Salamandrae (Fire)" from String Quartet No. 1, "Elemental", an original composition by 17-year-old composer Chason Goldfinger from Malvern, Pennsylvania, who will also appear on the show.
Lena Goodson, a 15-year-old contrabassist from York, Pa. and studies bass with Devin Howell,  Sheattends Central York High School, the principal bassist of Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.
Violinist Sein An, 15, is a student at Temple Music Prep and is a recipient of the "From the Top" Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award.
O'Riley will be making a return visit to Bowling Green. He performed a Festival Series concert and served as guest judge for the Dubois competition in 2012.
O'Riley said doubters expected "From the Top," which first aired in 2000, to run out of prodigies once producers had gone through the talent pools at Interlochen and Juilliard Prep.
But the show has tapped  a depth of talent from across the country. It is a testament to the dedication of teachers giving "first rate" instruction on all instruments, O'Riley said.
It's a testament to the dedication of the youngsters as well. The effort put in by musicians is extreme, practicing hours a day. They often have a broad range of interests, which they address with similar devotion, O'Riley noted.
Yet seldom do they receive the recognition such efforts deserve.
"Classical music has not been attended to with the kind of attention that athletic or even spelling bees have."
"From the Top," O'Riley said, hopes to remedy that.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 September 2013 11:40

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