St. Joseph’s College President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., led an interactive concert for the College community Tuesday afternoon in the Tuohy Hall auditorium.
Dr. Boomgaarden, who started playing the piano as a toddler and also plays the banjo and the country fiddle among other instruments, performed some of his favorite Frédéric Chopin pieces during “An Afternoon with Chopin: Preludes, Nocturnes and the Ballade No. 1 in G Minor.” In between Chopin ballades, the president stood up from the keyboard to share tales of his musical childhood and discuss the life and career of the famous Polish composer.
Chopin died nearly 170 years ago — on Oct. 17, 1849, and his work is easily recognizable today. He is so widely admired in the music world that his grave in Paris still blooms with flowers left by visitors, Dr. Boomgaarden told an SJC Brooklyn audience of more than 100.
Dr. Boomgaarden said a majority of the Chopin pieces he played during the concert were written when the composer was in his 20s — and similarly aged to most of the St. Joseph’s students in attendance.
“Don’t let the world around you dictate what you can do,” said Dr. Boomgaarden, while expressing hope that St. Joseph’s students find inspiration in Chopin’s early success. “There is an incredible amount that you can do at a young age. Don’t think that just because you are a student that the world is not paying any attention.”
The performance was part of St. Joseph’s College Council for the Arts’ Chamber Music and Afternoon Jazz Spring Parlor Series.
Dr. Boomgaarden’s Next Performances
On April 15, the College’s president will play his next concert in the Tuohy Hall Student Lounge at 7 p.m. Together with student and faculty associates, Dr. Boomgaarden will discuss the origins of North American roots music and perform classic bluegrass songs.
He will touch on the significance of family histories in the development of the roots movement and illustrate some of the basic stylistic traits found in this rich legacy, as well as the important political and social events that shaped musical culture in the United States.
On April 24, Dr. Boomgaarden will perform “An Afternoon with Chopin: Preludes, Nocturnes and the Ballade No. 1 in G Minor” once again — this time at SJC Long Island’s Muriel and Virginia Pless Center for Performing Arts at during common hour.