Justin Badgerow, pianist

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

My parents were both musicians and always provided the encouragement and support to pursue music as a calling.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

The main challenge is finding enough time to learn all the music I want to learn and set up the performances.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

My first album, Reminiscences of Brazil, just released with Divine Art Records.

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

I perform best when I’m passionate about the music I select, so anything that I choose automatically will “suit” me!

What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?

Spend time with family and friends, mountain bike, ski, cook, travel, play games.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I have a “wishlist” of pieces and programmes I want to tackle. But sometimes, one new piece leads me to find another related piece, and so on. Sometimes inspiration comes from other musicians, through other research, or through travel.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

I’m particularly fond of my “home” venue – a hall on the campus where I teach that was the location of my recent recording. The Steinway D there was hand-selected by myself and several other colleagues in the New York factory several years ago. The audiences are always so supportive as well.

What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music audiences/listeners?

We need to break down the barriers of elitism. We should embrace so-called ‘popular’ and ‘crossover’ material. We should allow for more informal concert experiences and create partnerships with businesses and other artistic entities. We should talk directly and casually with our audiences about what makes the music we select powerful to us.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

It was probably two performances of Rhapsody in Blue I did with a combination of the college band where I was teaching at the time and community members in the small town where the campus was located. For that group, this work came to represent something greater than they ever expected to accomplish together. We were inspired by one another. And my best friend happened to be the conductor; he was a clarinettist as well and played the opening solo, followed by putting down the clarinet and continuing to conduct the remainder of the piece!

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Success is when someone shares with you what moved them or made them inspired through something you performed.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Be supportive of each other. Play music together and lift one another up.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

Perhaps living on the West Coast of the US. Teaching piano at a vibrant school of music. I would love to explore the mountains with my family and friends.

Justin Badgerow’s debut disc Reminiscences of Brazil, featuring piano music by Mignone, Villa-Lobos, Milhaud, Gondim and Guarnieri, is available now from Divine Art Records.

Pianist Justin Badgerow enjoys a successful career as a solo and collaborative pianist as well as a pedagogue.  Dr. Badgerow received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Masters degree in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin and the Bachelor of Music in Piano from the University of Central Florida. Dr. Badgerow’s primary teachers include Gary Wolf, Nancy Garrett, and Andrew Coooperstock with additional coaching by Robert Spillman and Anne Epperson. 

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