At a large research university where the most popular majors tend to include more “typical” majors like economics and biology, the McIntire Department of Music can seem like an enigma to the average student. This department at the University presents the study of music as a liberal art, giving all interested university students the opportunity to pursue musical genres ranging from jazz to pop to performance with computers.
To get the inside scoop on the inner workings of music study at UVa, WUVA News caught up with fourth-year music major Luc Cianfarani after his Distinguished Major Recital in Old Cabell Hall.
As a pianist and composer from Saratoga Springs, New York, Cianfarani has studied piano and composition extensively during his time at UVa. He has performed in studio settings, recording theme music for “Footprints,” a Chinese language documentary as well as accompanying various choirs and performing chamber music. As a composer, he has scored films that have premiered at the Virginia Film Festival.
Anne: “So, why did you choose to study music at UVa, and what led you to this particular program?“
Luc: “I chose to come to UVA because I had spent my whole life in on the same block in a small town in upstate New York, and I wanted to go somewhere far away. I didn’t know anything about the music program, nor did I know if I would major in it. I took a lot of different classes my first year but realized music was the only thing I was passionate about so I devoted the rest of my undergraduate career to becoming a good musician.”
A: “That’s so great that you found something you’re really passionate about to devote your time to, especially since music ends up being a hobby for so many college students while they pursue different majors. What is the music program at UVa like in terms of your day-to-day routine as compared to other majors who focus on writing essays and testing?”
L: “The music major at UVA is similar to any other humanities major at the university. The majority of the classes I take are reading and writing based and focus on musicology, music history, and music theory. Compared to most other UVa students I have more individual attention- with my largest class this semester being five students. Preparing for my weekly composition and piano lessons takes up most of my free time and requires anywhere from 3 to 6 hours of work daily.”
A: “Wow. And what was your background in terms of music coming to UVa, and what do you feel like you’ve accomplished over the past four years?
L: “I am a pianist and composer and I just completed my senior recital. Over the past four years, I’ve performed in countless solo and chamber music recitals. Some pianistic highlights include being selected to spend the Spring 2016 semester studying piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and performing in a recital at the Kennedy Center.”
A: “That’s really impressive. Do you have a particularly memorable performance that you’d like to share?”
L: “My most memorable performance at UVA was a master class I played in my 3rd year for Stephen Drury. He is a pianist I admire a lot and it was awesome to play for him. I received great feedback and I believe it was my best performance in Old Cabell Hall.”
After graduation Cianfarani will hopefully perform in even grander spaces than Old Cabell, as the music major will be pursuing a master’s degree in music composition. And, with a promising future in music on the horizon, Cianfarani will certainly carry the McIntire Department of Music’s teachings with him… beyond just the perimeter of UVa’s Grounds.