Alumna Inspires the Next Generation of Music Students

Her musical interest began with piano lessons at age 5, but Randi Gronningsater Stroh ’67 says she found her true calling right here at Masters.

So it was a special Masters moment when the classical pianist returned to campus on May 3 to perform for the upper school community and offer a master class.

“The music education I got here was a life-changing experience,” said Stroh, who has enjoyed a storied career as a musician, performer, educator, administrator and arts advocate. She credits two of her teachers from her days at Masters (the late Grete Sultan and Jack Pierpont) with having a great impact on her career.

During Morning Meeting, Stroh performed a Bach prelude, a Mozart sonata, a Chopin waltz and the first movement of a Haydn sonata which she first learned when she was a senior at Masters. After her performance, she shared her expertise in a master class for three piano students: Derin Barkan ’28, Avery Kahn ’24 and Ian Lam ’25.

Barkan, who has played piano since he was 4, worked on Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca” with Stroh. “I really appreciate the advice that she gave me and also liked listening to the other students play.”

Lam, who has studied piano for seven years, savored the occasion as well. “I absolutely loved the energy of the room as each pianist played their piece,” he shared. “As each note was being played, it was as if I could feel the passion for music emanating from all of the musicians and Ms. Stroh.”

Lam chose to perform Liszt's “Liebestraum No. 2”: “Though I struggled a little bit with my piece, I found a lot of insight in her tips on expression and technique that allowed me to master my piece at a higher level.”

Kahn, who has been playing for 14 years, performed “Valentine” by Fred Hersch. “I learned a lot about voicing and expression from Ms. Stroh,” he said. “These things are especially important in the piece I was playing as it can sound quite bland without them.”

“No matter how much I work on a piece, there is always more to learn,” Kahn continued. “Every pianist has their own unique interpretation, so there is constant inspiration.” He plans to continue his piano studies in college next year. 

After she finished her master classes, Stroh toured campus and visited Katie Meadows’ sixth grade class, where she observed the students working on their Hudson River folk music curriculum.

“Throughout the day, Randi was an enthusiastic and gracious guest and delighted in it all,” said Jennifer Carnevale, chair of the Department of Performing Arts.

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