The Journal of a Musician was started in early 2007 as George embarked on a more active professional career as a concert pianist. It began as a quarterly print magazine, and was used as a platform from which George could express his views on music, life, and share some of the more fascinating encounters he was lucky to have had during the course of his musical adventures. He also put together a group of contributors from around the world, which gave the magazine a unique international perspective on the music and art world.
After a two year hiatus, during which George restructured the original magazine, a new volume is on the move! Now known for short as The JoAM, the Fall 2010 Issue was released in September and is the biggest, most beautiful and feature-rich issue. In addition to the four quarterly issue George will continue to edit, a fifth issue every year will be edited by a special guest of the editorial committee’s choosing.
George Lepauw’s life path:
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George was born in France, and spent most of his childhood and teenage years growing up in Paris. His family background is varied and interesting! From his dad’s side, he inherited the professional music gene: his father, Didier, was for more than thirty years a first violin in the famed Orchestre de Paris, as well as a composer primarily for theater and film, while his grandfather, Roger, was Principal Viola of the Orchestre de l’Opera de Paris, and then also of the Orchestre de Paris. On his mom’s side, he inherited the writing gene: indeed, his mother Jane begun her career as a broadcast journalist and a writer, and continues as a writer to this day.
George’s first, and most beloved teacher of all time was Aida Barenboim, whom he was lucky to have known in her last years living in Paris where her son, Daniel Barenboim, was at the time Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris. Although she died after only two years of study when George was five (a very sad time in his life also coinciding with his grandfather’s death), he credits her with giving him a great musical and pianistic foundation. His other teachers, very instrumental in his development over the years, were Elena Varvarova, who prepared him for his first public concert at the age of ten, Rena Chereschevskaya, and Vladimir Krainev. Other influential figures in his life who helped guide him musically were Maestro Carlo-Maria Giulini, Maria Curcio, and Brigitte Engerer.
George completed his last two years of high school in the United States, and then followed his passion for non-musical culture to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he earned his bachelors in English and History. One of his proudest achievements in college was having been co-founder of the FCA (French Cultural Association of Georgetown U.) and then its president. During that time, it became one of the most highly visible and strongest student groups on campus and gave him the opportunity to work closely with Washington’s diplomatic establishments, primarily the Embassy of France and other francophone embassies.
After a couple of years living back in Paris, teaching and performing, George decided to return to the U.S. and get his Masters in Music from Northwestern University’s School of Music, near Chicago where his family had moved to after decades in France. There, he had the opportunity to study piano with Ursula Oppens and James Giles, while also taking the time to explore the world of harpsichord with Stephen Alltop, organ with Margaret Kemper, and conducting with Victor Yampolsky. During that time he was also awarded the First Earl Wild Foundation Prize, allowing him to study with the legendary virtuoso at his home in Ohio.
George has made Chicago his home base since getting his last degree, and has performed regularly, from Europe to the Far East. In the Chicago area, George performs recitals, solos with symphony orchestras, collaborates regularly with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for chamber music performances, and teaches a select number of students privately. He is also the founder of the International Beethoven Project and of the Beethoven Project Trio, a group consisting of Sang Mee Lee on the violin, Wendy Warner on the cello, and George on the piano. Their most recent performance was the world premiere of a recently rediscoved piano trio by Beethoven (www.BeethovenProjectTrio.com for all the information on that). A recording with the Cedille Records label of Beethoven trios, including the world premiere piece, has been released in May 2010, to wide-critical acclaim, including high-kudos from John von Rhein in the Chicago Tribune.
For fun, George has fenced, played polo, done rock climbing, and a lot of tree climbing (not so much anymore!). Nowadays, he mostly enjoys riding his bike around the city and walking in nature. He loves to read, and is a voracious sight reader of music (the literature is immense!). Cooking, and eating great food, is a daily habit.
For a lot more on George, please visit his website: www.GeorgeLepauw.com.