Dixie State University student pianist Corinne Beard will have her own piano someday, she said, but for now she plays on the ‘Behemoth’ in the Eccles Concert Hall.
Beard, a senior music major from St. George, revels in the emotional musical expression from composers Brahms, Debussy and Shostakovich. Her role as a classical pianist is to interpret the music through the intentions of the composer, she said.
Music Department Chair Glenn Webb said Beard was one of the outstanding seniors in the program this year. It was a combination of the terrific work on her senior recital and the cumulative work of accompanying other musicians, he said.
The second youngest of four siblings, Beard said the rule in her home was that she had to be 8 years old to start taking piano lessons. She said that she was very jealous of her siblings, and didn’t see why it was a big deal to have to wait.
“It made me feel good to have something that I could accomplish– (something) that I could practice and that I was good at,” Beard said.
When Beard talks about music, she uses phrases like “express emotion,” and “moved by music.” She said the older she gets, the more she is drawn to classical music as a way to express herself.
“Music is the most natural and most sincere way I can [express my emotions],” Beard said.
She prepared for a year prior to her senior performance. Practicing upwards of four to five hours a day as she neared the recital, she said she realized the pieces she chose would help her learn what she needed to work on as a performer.
“It was a good experience because in that practice I progressed the most I ever have as a musician,” Beard said.
“She has not only worked hard at her degree, but she has been an active collaborator with other students for years now,” Webb said.
Jeffery Jarvis, dean of visual and performing arts, said the first time he heard Beard play was during the Inauguration Week for DSU President Biff Williams. He was impressed with how professional Beard sounded, he said.
“What I was struck by was how sensitive and supple the playing was,” Jarvis said. “Finding a voice on the piano is a tough thing to do.”
Growing up, Beard never had a problem finding the motivation to practice, she said.
“The older I got, the more I stuck with it, where other people my age were playing the piano stopped,” Beard said. Piano was just kind of what I stuck to. I couldn’t leave it. I couldn’t [stop] play[ing] it … It came so naturally, and [it was] something I loved.”
She said there were phases in high school where she didn’t want to pursue piano, but when she got into college she knew that music needed to play a role in her life.
Beard said the piano students become really close with each other. Part of this includes inside jokes, such as giving names to the piano in the Eccles Concert Hall like Franz (after Franz Liszt,) Bertha, or the Behemoth.
Beard’s husband is also a musician, she said. She said that it seems like playing an instrument comes naturally to him, while she feels the need to practice more often.
Beard’s future plans involve continuing to teach and to keep performing with other musicians in the community. Her favorite style of music to perform is chamber music, she said.
Respect for the composers and the music is what drives Beards performing, she said, and she doesn’t want to make the performance about herself.
“As a musician I try to make everything come back to just the music,” Beard said.