Korff School alumnus makes his Carnegie Hall debut

Marcelo Lian performs at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on Oct. 17. Courtesy photo.
Marcelo Lian performs at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on Oct. 17. Courtesy photo.

Korff School alumnus makes his Carnegie Hall debut

calendar icon03 Nov 2022    user iconBy Kathe C. Andersen

Lincoln, Neb.--Glenn Korff School of Music alumnus Marcelo Lian performed a 90-minute recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Oct. 17 after receiving honorable mention in the Progressive Musicians competition. 

“It was mind blowing, because as you can imagine, it is a dream for musicians to perform there,” Lian said. “But it was also the fact that I achieved that as an immigrant is what made the experience so emotional. My mental preparation made me try to convince myself it is ‘just another performance’ so I wouldn’t freak out before going on stage.”

His program included four sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, the last sonata composed by Beethoven (Op. 111), “Suite Bergamasque” by Claude Debussy, and “Funerailles” and “Rigoletto” by Franz Liszt. 

“I performed music by some of my favorite composers,” he said.

Originally from Argentina, Lian completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky. He received his Master of Music degree in 2010 and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 2013 from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln under the guidance of Marguerite Scribante Professor of Piano Paul Barnes.

“It has been such a joy to see Marcelo’s career take off,” Barnes said. “He was one of my most productive graduate students, and so it is so rewarding for me personally to see him take what he gained in the Glenn Korff School of Music and turn it into professional success.”

Lian said his education gave him many important experiences.

“My education at UNL gave me tons of tools, from the stronger theory and analysis of music, to the rhythmic control Dr. Barnes emphasized,” Lian said. “When you have an assistantship, you are teaching, accompanying, working on your solo repertoire, and doing your best to get good grades in your classes. It was pretty much like a boot camp for musicians, for which I’m truly grateful. I learned the importance of time management.”

He also appreciates the support that Barnes provides him.

“Paul Barnes was incredibly supportive from my first semester as a master student until now,” he said. “His presence and support continues even though I’m no longer his student. He makes me feel I am a colleague, and he celebrates every achievement.”

Following his graduation from UNL, he applied for jobs and also applied for U.S. citizenship. 

“In 2015, I obtained the permanent residency, a.k.a. green card, based on extraordinary abilities,” he said. “After five years of residency, I became a citizen. That was another milestone.”

He was also performing and teaching at several universities and conservatories, including the New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Nyack College, Southwest Baptist University, Wayland Baptist University, among others. 

In 2016, he began accompanying the choirs and vocal music at Lefler Middle School in the Lincoln Public Schools, and then was transferred to Lincoln High in 2018. He also teaches classes at the Omaha Conservatory of Music.

“I love the fact that in addition to accompanying at Lincoln High, I get to coach talented kids who are doing the International Baccalaureate,” he said. “It gives me the wonderful opportunity to see them improve and grow musically.”

His advice to piano students is to keep practicing.

“Practice. Practice. Practice,” Lian said. “Be patient and listen to your teacher. They know what to do.”

Next up for Lian is a recital of Argentinian music he’ll be performing at the Omaha Conservatory of Music for its Piano Day, as well as some upcoming recitals and masterclasses in Italy and France next summer.

He has lasting memories of his time in the Glenn Korff School of Music.

“I particularly remember the friendship and comradery from those days,” Lian said. “Also, the pleasure of attending tons of performances by teachers and friends. That molded one’s ears and musical taste.”