Making Music in the Mountains at Woodstock
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Making Music in the Mountains at Woodstock

Jessie Huang making music in the mountains at Woodstock School

Piano teacher Jessie Huang is believed to be the first-ever Taiwanese teacher at Woodstock.

The 31-year-old comes with a rich pedigree in piano playing, having spent seven years doing postgraduate studies in the United States, firstly gaining a Masters of Music in Piano Performance at the University of Maryland, before achieving a doctorate of Musical Art and Piano Performance at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC.

On arriving at Woodstock, Jessie was unsure how well-resourced a school in an Indian hill station would be. However, she was pleasantly surprised how well-equipped the music department was, both in terms of sheet music and instruments, and has quickly adjusted to life here in the foothills of the Himalaya, enjoying playing music in the mountains.

Having studied in an international community in the US, she enjoys the similar diverse environment here at Woodstock. This has proved to have many benefits, she explains:

“The other day, I was teaching a student a piece by Liszt, which is based on a sonnet by the Italian poet Petrarch. This student couldn’t understand the sonnet, but she asked an Italian student to help her translate it. Because of our international diversity, we are not limited to just one language in the classroom!”

She finds most of the Woodstock students highly motivated, which she says is infectious and rubs off on those children who aren’t so enthusiastic about music. She also loves the fact that Woodstock is a community of lifelong learners.

“The Woodstock atmosphere encourages both students and teachers always be learning and developing, and being here has encouraged me to keep practising and learning more about the piano.”

Jessie’s favourite composers are Mozart (with whom she shares a birthday), Mendelssohn and Rachmaninoff. She now considers herself the “pianist on the mountain” and is very much enjoying her time at Woodstock.

Watch Jessie playing music in the mountains at the recent staff recital, a performance of Piano Sonata No 2, Op 75 by Alexander Glazunov.