Nov 122012

Certainly everyone is familiar with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, and Harry Potter.  What makes those movies so memorable?  What do they all have in common?  Can you recall the music that is so prominent and captivating that most of us can instantly start humming the themes?

I have always been fascinated with movie scores and the critical role they play in setting the entire tone and mood for the movie.  Did you know that many of the really great scores have a basis in classical and orchestral music form?  Next time you watch a good movie, stop and really listen to the music.  You’ll see, or rather hear, what I mean.

Although I have always been interested in becoming a performer, I have also been interested in composing for some time now.  My interest in movie scores is natural given my interest in composing. The act of composing, however, takes considerable time and effort and I am fascinated at the thought of composing movie themes.

Check out the link below and listen to this interview with John Williams, the composer who wrote the scores for all those movies (and many more) mentioned above.  I was thrilled to hear it this weekend on NPR.  John Williams is a legend in the music and film industry and probably the greatest living film composer.  He has been widely hailed for his work and as you’ll hear in the interview, Steven Spielberg credits him as the single most important contributor to his success as a film director and producer.  Anyway, I was fascinated to hear the thoughts of this great master and I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Listen to NPR interview with film composer and conductor John Williams. 


Read about another pianist turned composer – Meet the Artist….David Ianni.


 November 12, 2012  Posted by on November 12, 2012 Personal Thoughts No Responses »
Nov 112012

Saint Matthew Church, Virginia Beach, Virginia
November 4th, 2012

This was the second performance of the Tidewater Intergenerational Orchestra’s (TIO) fall program.  The concert featured performances by the TIO Tykes and Tweens – a youth group of beginning students directed by Dr. Alice Lindsay, the combined choirs of Saint Bede and Saint Matthew Churches performing Vivaldi’s Gloria with Ms. Loretta Atkinson and Aaron Renninger conducting, and the TIO playing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5.

The Bach Concerto featured soloists William Hume on piano, Tom Lindsay on the violin, and Erich Graf on the flute.  William will be performing with the TIO in their spring concert planned for April 2013 with performances in Richmond, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach.

Pianist William Hume, TIO founders Tom and Alice Lindsay, and conductors Loretta Atkinson and Aaron Renninger. Photo taken by Stephen Hume.

The TIDEWATER INTERGENERATIONAL ORCHESTRA provides an outlet and opportunity for string players of all ages to play together and learn from each other. Rehearsals are clustered around the performance dates with advance distribution of the music. They present frequent concerts and programs in Saint Bede Catholic Church and around the community. For more information contact the founders and coordinators: Tom and Alice Lindsay at 757-565-5463 or email


 November 11, 2012  Posted by on November 11, 2012 News No Responses »
Oct 292012

This is a personal memoir essay I wrote for a Parent Teachers Association Reflections Contest.  I also submitted it for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition.  I hope you enjoy it. 

The mail has arrived.  The thick envelope is finally here.  Eagerly but carefully I open it and examine its contents.  Sixty five pages in all.  The book is thicker than I expected, but I smile with anticipation as I look through the contents, each crisp page smelling of fresh ink and feeling smooth to my touch.  I am excited, but I know that an arduous task awaits.  There is no time to lose.  I must get started.

I begin by working my way through, page by page.  It is rough at first and often unrecognizable.  The slow repetition can be painful and disturbing to the senses.  It is time consuming but it is necessary to proceed in this manner.  Those that I live with often shudder at the sounds coming from the room, but we know that in time it will meld together.  I persist.

I see her for the first time since I began the sixty five pages.  I am excited to have ninety minutes of her time.  We are beginning a project that we will work on together for the next several months.  Her expertise and knowledge will guide me.  I must remain focused and receptive to her every word.  “Legato” she says.  “Shape the phrases.”  The scratching of her pencil on the pages can be distracting but it is essential for my understanding and accurate interpretation.  She gives me a specific assignment and I return home.  I begin the tedious process again.

Every day for several hours I do what I have learned.  I must be accurate in order to increase my chances of being successful with the sixty five pages.  Hours, days, weeks and months of work will be necessary.  I must incorporate what I have learned over the past nine years while I work toward my goal.  Rhythms, hands separately, strength, accuracy.  Practicing methodically to a rhythmic pulse.  After much mental and physical exertion, I can finally work my way through to the end.  I can proceed in a more detailed manner.  The reward will be worth the effort.

The phone rings. “No, I can’t go with you.”  I tell my friends that I have to finish my work, memorize the cadenza, shape the phrases.  They don’t understand, but they recognize my passion and don’t abandon me.  I ponder all that must still be done.  I return to the room, and again sit alone. Someone uninformed might wonder if this is some type of punishment I am subjecting myself to – solitary confinement in a room away from all others.  But only I am capable of doing this.  No one here can help me and only I can help myself.  My friends are together but I am engaged in something more.  I must move on and make progress.  This is my passion and my future.

Hours, days, weeks and months pass.  I am able to increase the tempo.  80-88-96-104.  It is coming together.

I see her again and we review what I have worked on since the last time. “Watch the tempo and dynamics.”  “You must have more feeling.” “No pedal there.”  “LEGATO!”  Sometimes I think I hear those words in my sleep.  In her strong Eastern European accent she gives directions, makes demands.  She can be harsh and strict but she expects me to work to my potential and will not accept anything less.  I continue to return each week, knowing that her expertise is immeasurable and I will benefit greatly.  And every week when we are done I return to the room, continuing the arduous process, remembering and reflecting on her every word.  Time signatures, dynamics, tempi.  Working on legato to create smooth transitions.  It must all be done accurately, the way it was intended when the sixty five pages were written over one hundred years ago.   I must continue to be disciplined and dedicated as I anticipate the end result of my work.

Finally the moment has arrived.  Today is the day.  Hours, days, weeks and months of work have come down to this moment, and I am well-prepared.  As I wait for my cue, I remember more of her sage advice. “You must clear your head, listen to the notes.  Play beautiful music and you will be fine.” My fingers tremble slightly but her words are reassuring and help to calm my nerves.

I stand to the side, obscured by the heavy velvet curtain, and look ahead.  My tuxedo is neatly pressed, my shoes shined and my bowtie straight.  I wear an outfit reserved for the most important occasions.  My senses are overwhelmed and a mass of black and white abounds. Sounds can be heard throughout – violins, cellos, clarinets, saxophones – eighty musicians, experts themselves, full of confidence and rhythmically moving in unison.  But to me it is blurred, muffled and distant as I wait alone.  I focus and remove extraneous thoughts from my head.  This is the moment for which I have worked toward for months.

I proceed to the center of the stage with long, confident strides and I turn to face the audience.  I am astounded at its size.  Seats are occupied with young and old music lovers from near and far who have come to hear the orchestra and enjoy the fruits of our labor.  As I bow, I see my family and friends in the front row, smiling and clapping, showing their support for me and my months of work.  And she is there, too, and with her reassuring smile I know I am ready.  I take my place at the piano bench and the beauty of the nine foot Steinway is momentarily overwhelming.  The magnificent ebony instrument sparkles under the glistening spotlights, and the lid is fully raised to allow the rich tones and harmonies to resonate through the filled performance hall.  All eighty eight keys, bright and clean, await my touch.  For the next thirty minutes they will serve as an extension of my fingers, my heart, my soul and my emotions.  The conductor and I exchange glances indicating to each other that we are ready to start.  I take a breath, and we begin to play.  The beautiful melody of the concerto flows from the piano and multitude of instruments filling the entire concert hall – the culmination of months of work and dedication.  But it is also at the expense of my personal life – the sacrificing of time with friends for pizza or basketball games, rushing through school work, skimping on chores – all to allow for more practice in order to interpret and memorize these sixty five pages.  But I am living a dream and my life’s passion, right at this moment, on this stage, with my friends and family surrounding me.

The Grieg Piano Concerto is over.  I have played the last measure, and the orchestra and I can now breathe a sigh of relief.  I feel the sweat on my forehead from the lights and physical effort required to execute the demanding passages.  I have played nearly every note on the keyboard.  It seems like only a moment has gone by.  A brief sense of relief passes through me, and I am overwhelmed.  The months of hard work have culminated in a magnificent performance, for which I am grateful and privileged to be a part of.  I stand, and the audience applauds with deep appreciation.  I have played the music that I love and I am humbled.

She quickly finds me back stage.  She is my piano teacher – my mentor and my guide.  She is an inspiration and a support in my journey to become a professional musician and concert pianist, and I am learning from her experience.  She has been at my side for months, imparting her wisdom and knowledge and care for me, in order help me attain my goals.

“Was it worth it?” she asks, referring to the months of faithful practice, and sacrifices that were needed for me to memorize and perform this beautiful piece of music – my first full concerto with an orchestra, and any musician’s dream performance.

“Yes, it was” I reply.

“Would you do it again?” she wonders.

Without hesitation I tell her that I absolutely would.  The opportunity to play with an orchestra is an honor, and a rare occurrence bestowed only upon those truly dedicated to the art.  It was magic to me, and a moment which I will always remember.

I leave the concert hall with a sense of satisfaction and pride in my accomplishment.  I return home and look into the room.  My piano, metronome, and countless music books filled with etudes, sonatas and concerti by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and others all await me.  My work will begin again tomorrow as I learn a new piece of music and continue to pursue my dreams.


 October 29, 2012  Posted by on October 29, 2012 Personal Thoughts No Responses »
Oct 272012

Saint Bede Church, Williamsburg, VA
October 27, 2012

William was the featured piano soloist during a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, with the Tidewater Intergenerational Orchestra (TIO) of Williamsburg, Virginia.  The famous concerto also featured solo performances by professional musicians Tom Lindsay on the violin and Erich Graf on the flute.  Tom spent a professional career with the Dallas and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras and Erich is the former principal flutist of the Utah Symphony.  The concert featured other performances by the TIO Tykes and Tweens Orchestra with Dr. Alice Lindsay conducting and the TIO Choir with Ms. Loretta Roolf Atkinson conducting.  As the name implies, The Tidewater Intergenerational Orchestra features accomplished musicians of all ages.  William and the TIO will be performing the Bradenburg Concerto again on Sunday, November 4th at 3 pm, at St. Matthew’s Church, in Virginia Beach, VA.  The TIO spring concert is scheduled for performances on April 20th and 28th (program to be determined).

William and flutist Erich Graf.

The TIDEWATER INTERGENERATIONAL ORCHESTRA provides an outlet and  opportunity for string players of all ages to play together and learn from each other.  Rehearsals are clustered around the performance dates with advance  distribution of the music.  They present frequent concerts and programs in Saint Bede Catholic Church and around the community.  For more information contact the founders and  coordinators: Tom and Alice Lindsay at 757-565-5463 or email

See the 1st Movement here!



 October 27, 2012  Posted by on October 27, 2012 News No Responses »
Sep 252012

Contact: Robin Allen LaPlante
617-437-0707 x103,



Episode airs nationally and on WHRO Classical the week of October 1

16-year-old pianist William Hume will appear on an upcoming episode of From the Top, the hit NPR radio program featuring America’s best young classical musicians and hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O’Riley. This special episode celebrates the stories and performances of children of American military families. Taped before a live audience at the Military Child Education Coalition Conference in Grapevine, Texas on June 27, the show will air nationally the week of October 1 and on WHRO Classical October 6 at 7:00 pm.

Show 256 Link

Show Listening Guide

From The Top Scrapbook – Show 256 Military Child Coalition

William Hume (piano), 16, is from Yorktown, Virginia.  His Army father recently returned from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan and is currently stationed at Fort Eustis, Virginia.  William is a junior at York High School and studies music with Dr. Anna Kijanowska at The College of William and Mary. He is currently the pianist in the York High School Symphonic Band and accompanies the chorus.  William performed the Brahms Rhapsody Op. 79 No. 1 for the show.  In addition to piano, he also plays the cello, earned a varsity letter in cross-country track, and plays basketball.

Taped at the annual conference of the Military Child Education Coalition in Grapevine, Texas on June 27, the NPR broadcast features young musicians performing and speaking with host Christopher O’Riley. The honorable General Martin E Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was on hand at the dress rehearsal of this special episode to greet the musicians and their families and speak about the important link between music and the military. A short interview with the General and host Christopher O’Riley is included in the broadcast.

Also on the broadcast: 18-year-old violist Devon Naftzger, whose father is an Air Force veteran; 17-year-old harpist Clarissa McLaren from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium where her father serves in the Air Force Reserves; 18-year-old clarinetist Dominic Giardino whose Navy father was stationed in Key West, Florida and recently retired and moved to Rochester, New York; and Pershing’s Own Woodwind Quintet from The United States Army Band, which includes From the Top alumna Staff Sergeant Elizabeth McGinness (who appeared on the program when she was a teenager).

For the past decade, From the Top has been the preeminent showcase for America’s best young musicians. Through award-winning NPR and PBS programs, online media, a national tour of live events, and education programs, From the Top shares the stories and performances of pre-collegiate musicians with millions each week.

From the Top is made possible by support from US Trust and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. It is also supported through the generous contributions of individuals and institutions as well as public radio stations.

From the Top on NPR is produced in association with WGBH Radio Boston and New England Conservatory of Music, its home and education partner.


For a complete listing of repertoire and performance photographs, please contact
Robin Allen LaPlante at or 617-437-0707 x103
Please visit for more information.




 September 25, 2012  Posted by on September 25, 2012 News No Responses »
Aug 062012

Washington, DC
August 4, 2012

I spent this past week in the nation’s capitol, July 29 – August 4, where I attended the Washington International Piano Festival.  It proved to be a great event and learning experience, held at the Catholic University of America, as well as at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

I had lessons with five different world-class teachers and attended several faculty concerts and master classes with Seymour Bernstein, Jose Feghali, and Leon Fleisher.  Most exciting, however, was the performance the end of the week where I was selected to perform with other accomplished participants at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  I played a shorter jazz style piece, the Kapustin Concert Jazz Etude Op. 40 No. 1,  that can be viewed at the following link.  My piece starts at approximatly 22:10 on the hour long concert.

Thank You to Ivo Kaltchev and Nikita Fitenko for organizing this annual international festival that so many students from around the world have benefited from.


Reading about JFK before the performance.


 August 6, 2012  Posted by on August 6, 2012 Personal Thoughts No Responses »
Jul 202012

Richmond, Virginia
July 20, 2012

Another opportunity and another music immersion experience with a program focused on chamber music.  I was one of two pianists who attended the Chamber Music Institute (CMI) in Richmond, Virginia from July 16-20 2012 where we worked with string and woodwind instrumentalists performing orchestra and chamber ensemble pieces.  I actually worked with two quintet groups playing Mozart on the cello in one and the piano in the other.  I also performed some Shostakovich pieces as a member of a trio, and performed some solo repertoire.  I participated in several master classes with Dr. Maria Yefimova of the College of William and Mary.

I was excited to meet some great musicians of all ages and work in the orchestra and ensembles on both cello and piano.  Mr. Tom Lindsay (violinist) and Dr. Alice Lindsay (violist) founded CMI and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in chamber music.  It offers a great opportunity to explore music and collaborate with other dedicated musicians.

 July 20, 2012  Posted by on July 20, 2012 Personal Thoughts No Responses »
Jul 142012

Arcidosso, Tuscany, Italy
July 14, 2012

Ciao!  What a great experience!  I just returned from Italy where I participated in the InterHarmony International Music Festival, July 3-14 2012, in Arcidosso, Province of Grossetto, Tuscany, Italy.  We even did some sightseeing in Tuscany, Florence, Siena, and Rome in addition to the rigorous festival.  InterHarmony provided a great opportunity to work with some outstanding teachers, meet some interesting and dedicated students, and expand my knowledge of music.  I worked hard on several solo pieces and really enjoyed working with my chamber quintet full of outstanding musicians.  I was able to participate in several concerts where I performed the Kapustin Concert Jazz Etude Op. 40 No. 1, Chopin Ballade No. 2, and the Dvorak Quintet in A Major for Strings and Piano, Op. 81, 1st mov.  I also focused on other pieces for my repertoire and was fortunate to perform in masterclasses with Marian Hahn and Frank Pavese.

Best of all, however, was my brief trip to Rome where I met up with some old friends of my family and toured the city at night.  I also must mention those legendary Gelatos.  I had at least 10 or 15 of them while I was there, and sometimes I even had Gelatos as my meal, much to the disappointment of my teacher!

My friends and I enjoy another round of Gelatos after a performance.


William in front of the famous Colosseum in Rome.


 July 14, 2012  Posted by on July 14, 2012 Personal Thoughts No Responses »
Jun 292012

Grapevine, Texas
June 27, 2012

William was a featured solo performer this week during the live show and taping of NPR’s nationally acclaimed radio show “From the Top.”  The show was taped in front of a sold-out audience at the historic Palace Theater in Grapevine, Texas on June 27, 2012.  The audience included a large contingent from the Military Child Education Coalition who sponsored this special show that featured young musicians from military families.

“What an incredible experience – I had a great time meeting other military kids who share my passion for classical music!  Christopher O’Riley is a terrific host and mentor.  The entire “From the Top” organization is first-class.  The entire crew made us all feel like professionals and I’m confident we put together a very entertaining and enjoyable show.  I feel inspired and look forward to promoting classical music as we discussed during our post-show Arts Leadership seminar.”

 – William Hume

William playing for General Martin Dempsey, 18th Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife during a special pre-show preview.


“From The Top” Host Christopher O’Riley and William after the show.

The show that features William and other young performers from military families will broadcast nationally the week of October 1, 2012.  Check your local National Public Radio (NPR) listings for specific dates and times!  You can also listen online and subscribe to podcasts at

Look for Show 256 – Military Child Education Conference in Grapevine, Texas.

See “Show 256 Sneak Peek” on From the Top’s Green Room Blog!

From the Top is an independent 501(C)3 non-profit organization that identifies, supports, and celebrates the nation’s exceptional young classical musicians through media, live events, scholarship and education programs.  From the Top prepares young musicians to connect with audiences, serve as positive role models, and give back to their communities.  These performers inspire the pursuit of excellence and encourage participation in the arts as an integral part of a vibrant and civil society.”  (From the Top Information Pamphlet)

 June 29, 2012  Posted by on June 29, 2012 News No Responses »