Although pianist Melissa Rose is the newest official member of ALIAS, her face is probably familiar to our faithful audiences. She’s made numerous appearances with ALIAS on stage over the last 10 years. As a renowned recording artist and in-demand performer across the globe, she is a welcome addition to the Grammy-nominated chamber ensemble.
Melissa recently squeezed in an interview with ALIAS Exposed between rehearsals and her teaching responsibilities as Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Piano at the Blair school of music.
Q: When did you join ALIAS? What made you decide you wanted to be part of this ensemble?
I just officially joined ALIAS, but I’ve been playing with the group for years, just about as long as they have been around!
Q: How long have you been playing the piano? Why did you choose the piano?
I started piano lessons at the age of 6, in first grade. I started playing because my sister, who is 5 years older, was taking lessons. I wanted to try anything that she did. I have memories of “playing” the piano as early as the age of 4, trying to imitate what she was doing in her lessons. I’m not sure how successful that was, but when I started lessons I loved it, and I’ve been playing nonstop since then, for 46 years!
Q: At the Winter concert, you’ll have the opportunity to perform Paul Moravec’s “Tempest Fantasy” that won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. What’s the most challenging aspect of performing this piece?
I’m so excited about performing the Tempest Fantasy again—the first time was in Kansas City with the Summerfest Chamber series. The challenging part for me is sheer endurance because the pianist doesn’t get many rests, but the piece is so wonderful, it’s certainly worth it!
Q: What excites you the most about the Winter concert and about playing with ALIAS?
What I really like about playing with ALIAS is performing with the great musicians and also exploring repertoire that’s new and exciting. I love playing the great chamber music classics, but it’s also fun to be challenged with music by contemporary composers.