Spencer Myer

Spencer Myer
Collaborative Piano; Piano
 

Lauded for “superb playing” and “poised, alert musicianship” by the Boston Globe, and labeled “definitely a man to watch” by London’s The Independent, American pianist Spencer Myer is one of the most respected and sought-after artists on today’s concert stage.

Spencer Myer has been soloist with The Cleveland Orchestra, the Johannesburg, Cape Town, Boise, Dayton and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestras, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, the Baton Rouge, Indianapolis, Knoxville, New Haven, Phoenix, Santa Fe, Springfield, Traverse and Tucson Symphony Orchestras, Mexico’s Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco and Beijing’s China National Symphony Orchestra, collaborating with, among others, conductors Michael Christie, Nicholas Cleobury, Leslie B. Dunner, Robert Franz, Bernhard Gueller, Jacques Lacombe, Jahja Ling, Timothy Muffitt, Maurice Peress, Kevin Rhodes, Lucas Richman, Klauspeter Seibel, Steven Smith, Arjan Tien, Thomas Wilkins and Victor Yampolsky. His 2005 recital/orchestral tour of South Africa included a performance of the five piano concerti of Beethoven with the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa, followed by five return orchestra and recital tours. His appearances have been presented in New York City’s Weill Recital Hall and Merkin Recital Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and London’s Wigmore Hall, and have been broadcast on WQXR (New York City), WHYY (Philadelphia), WCLV (Cleveland) and WFMT (Chicago).

An in-demand chamber musician, he has appeared for five summers at the Lev Aronson Legacy Festival in Dallas with cellists Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum, Amit Peled, and Brian Thornton, and has enjoyed a recurring partnership with the Miami String Quartet at the Kent/Blossom Music Festival. Other artistic partners include clarinetist David Shifrin, the Jupiter, Manhattan and Pacifica string quartets and the Dorian Wind Quintet. Festival appearances have included those of the Bard, Blossom, Cape Cod Chamber, Colorado, Ravinia and Skaneateles Music Festivals, Canada’s Concerts aux Iles du Bic, Spain’s Gijon International Piano Festival and Indonesia’s Yogyakarta International Music Festival.

His particular affinity for vocal collaboration has led to rich and varied career in song recital, since winning the 2000 Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition. He has appeared with Cardiff Singer of the World winner Nicole Cabell on the Cal Performances series in Berkeley and the Vocal Recital Series of Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall. His collaboration with Martha Guth in the 2007 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition led to her First Prize win. He has appeared on New York’s “The Song Continues” series in Zankel Hall and the Juilliard Theater, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and New York’s Casement Fund and Five Boroughs series. He is featured in a performance of Ravel’s Chansons madécasses — with soprano Ellie Dehn — on “Intimate Masterpieces,” a 2013 CD featuring faculty and alumni of the Oberlin Conservatory and issued by Oberlin Music.

Spencer Myer’s career was launched with three important prizes: First Prize in the 2004 UNISA International Piano Competition in South Africa, the 2006 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship from the American Pianists Association and the Gold Medal from the 2008 New Orleans International Piano Competition. He is also a laureate of the 2007 William Kapell, 2005 Cleveland and 2005 Busoni international piano competitions. He was a member of Astral Artists’ performance roster from 2003-2010.

As an educator, he has been a frequent guest artist at workshops for students and teachers, including the 2013 National Conference of the Music Teachers National Association, where he was the Convention Artist. He was featured on the cover of the January/February 2019 issue of The Piano Magazine: Clavier Companion, in an interview with Lynn Worcester-Jones entitled “An Interview with Spencer Myer — 21st Century American Pianist”. He has served as a visiting faculty member at the Baldwin-Wallace University and Oberlin College Conservatories of Music. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory, a Master of Music from The Juilliard School and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University.

Since 2017, he has released four CDs on the Steinway & Sons label: Piano Rags of William Bolcom, and three discs with cellist Brian Thornton encompassing repertoire of Brahms, Debussy and Schumann. Spencer Myer is a Steinway Artist.

Teaching Philosophy

My life as a pianist and musician has encompassed many roles: soloist, businessman, chamber musician, publicist, accompanist, manager, teacher, coach, among others. It is my complete love for music that has allowed me to constantly retain an open mind and embrace the all-encompassing life of a musician. Today’s music professor must play an integral part in educating the next generation of musicians in the importance of an all-encompassing mindset for the pursuit of the goals university students have in mind and/or create in these formative years. I stress the study of a breadth of repertoire of all style periods both at the instrument and away from it, being aware of — and savvy with — social media tools, honing one’s practice techniques to accommodate varying available practice times, knowing how to assemble a demo recording and other press materials, understanding the importance of vocal and instrumental collaboration, placing emphasis both on one’s musical knowledge and one’s technique, and staying aware of the musical goings-on outside of one’s school environment through participation in competitions in festivals. These are a mere handful of the essential aspects of the 21st century music student’s education. A great disservice is done to the student by limiting content to nothing but stylistic guidelines in Beethoven Sonatas and how to play scales evenly.

Additionally, I believe firmly that it is the job of educators to instill in our students a mind open to all races, creeds, colors, gender identifications, sexual orientations; in performers and colleagues, and in repertoire choice. As musicians, our community is incredibly diverse and must be celebrated as such.

I was fortunate that my university teachers — Joseph Schwartz, Peter Takács, Julian Martin and Christina Dahl — came from various lineages, including those of Lhevinne and of Schnabel/Fleisher. I draw from a combination of these backgrounds in my own teaching, stressing sound quality and singing phrasing as well as clarity of structure and form. I aim for all students to find efficiency and reliability in technique through complete involvement of the body as opposed to an unbalanced focus on the fingers alone. For Collaborative Piano majors, these important elements of piano-playing are stressed in addition to the concepts of listening, supporting one’s collaborative partners through sound and rhythmic vitality, and being in sync with whomever they are collaborating. Above all, the goal is to help each pianist pay great attention to the composers’ intent while helping him/her to find his/her own voice.