Artists Weekly: Julia Van Patter

AE_Alexea Brown_Artists Weekly_Andrew Neel (1)

Photo courtesy of Andrew Neel

Alexa Brown
   Staff Writer

Julia Van Patter, a senior piano performance major at UNCG, feels that the ability to express oneself through some type of artistic media is very important — whether it be music, art, acting or dancing. She would know, as she’s been playing the harp since she was three and the piano since she was four.

Julia Van Patter comes from a family of musicians: her mom is a music teacher and choir director. Her dad is a professional trombone player; her brother is a pianist, arranger, guitarist and vocalist; her sister a harpist, music teacher and vocalist. So, it’s no surprise that Van Patter became a passionate musician herself.

Van Patter has always been a creative spirit. She spent a majority of her childhood participating in various musical and artistic activities that helped nourish her talents, but music was always her favorite. Though she knew that she would eventually choose a career path that allowed her to utilize her artistic talents, Van Patter didn’t solidify her decision to pursue music as a career industry until her senior year of high school. Since then, her focus has been on music.

There are many artists who inspire Van Patter, but she went most in depth about her admiration for Chris Thile.

“He has a view for music that is so perfect, in my opinion,” Van Patter explained. “First of all, he’s a fantastic musician and I am constantly enamored by his playing. But more importantly, he is so passionate about his art. He has stepped into so many different genres and broken so many boundaries as far as audience expectations go. I went to a concert of his last fall, and have never stepped away from a performance so amazed.”

For this particular performance, he and Edgar Meyer played a variety of bluegrass, jazz and classical music.

Van Patter values the fact that Thile was able to master so many different types of music and showcase them all within a few hours.

Van Patter feels that “it is important to appreciate and be consumed by music as a whole, and not be confined by calling [ourselves] a certain type of musician.”

Van Patter plays mostly classical music herself. Within that genre, she enjoys twentieth century and romantic repertoire.

Though the composers whose music she most enjoys playing aren’t quite household names (Rachmaninoff, Brahms and Bartók to name a few), her favorite types of music to listen to in her free time are blues, folk and soul: “B.B. King, Taj Mahal, Punch Brothers, Béla Fleck…” Van Patter listed. “And I will always enjoy a good Aretha Franklin, Etta James or Sarah Vaughan album.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Van Patter plans to pursue her master’s degree in collaborative piano. “I love to play with other people,” she said. “So if I could get a job that allowed me to do this I would consider myself lucky.”

She spoke of how grateful she is for the many opportunities that she’s been presented with to play with other talented music majors at UNCG. “The field of music is competitive, but I’m reminded of why I love it when I get the chance to share ideas, create something and learn from other musicians,” she explained.

Van Patter had some very encouraging words of advice for students who may be hesitant to learn to play an instrument or to share their expertise with the world.

“As far as showcasing skills, a lot of people, including myself, get really afraid of performing,” Van Patter said. “But, the worst thing that can happen is that it goes horribly. The amount of bad performances that I’ve had in my life is probably equal to the amount of good performances, but I would venture to reluctantly say that they were all worth it because they help me learn what not to do the next time… or they help me remember that I still have a lot of work to do. So, if it’s something you love and feel excited about, you should share it with other people!”

Categories: Artist Weekly, Arts & Entertainment, Uncategorized

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