Tzu-Hwa Ho returning to UMSL after piano success

Tzu Hwa Ho graduated from UMSL in 2007, and works as a professional pianist and instructor. She will be performing as part of the Piano Alumni Concert on April 21. (Photo courtesy of Tzu Hwa Ho.)

Tzu-Hwa Ho graduated from UMSL in 2007 and works as a professional pianist and instructor. She will be performing as part of the Piano Alumni Concert on April 21. (Photo courtesy of Tzu Hwa Ho.)

Tzu-Hwa Ho has graced piano keyboards on numerous professional stages, but she’s excited to return to the university where she got her start in the United States.

Ho will return to the University of Missouri–St. Louis for next week’s Piano Alumni Concert. She came to UMSL from Taiwan in 2004, anxious for a chance to learn in the U.S. That’s when she began studying with Alla Voskoboynikova, associate teaching professor of music and director of keyboard studies at UMSL.

“I was supposed to go back after one year, but I really liked Alla, I liked the school and I liked the freedom an American university gave me,” Ho said. “Alla is very different from my past teachers. She is very passionate for her students and she gave me a lot of opportunities to perform.”

Since leaving UMSL, Ho has earned a master’s degree in piano performance from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill., and a doctorate in music from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. She also studied at the Conservatoire Américain de Fontainebleau in France for the summer of 2009. In addition to her continuing education, she has performed in numerous professional settings, including as staff pianist with the Castleton Festival in Virginia, which was founded by Maestro Lorin Maazel, and performed under Maazel’s direction. She was also the musical director with the Des Moines Metro Opera in Iowa. She has also performed in France, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Despite the hard work, Ho feels relaxed when she plays the piano, which she started doing at age four.

“Something about the piano makes me feel very relaxed,” she said. “It’s something I discovered when in elementary school. Whenever I had problems with math, I could go to the piano and practice and go back to the math assignment and do it with no problem. I really liked playing piano because it helped me in doing other things.”

Ho recently moved to Philadelphia and works as a freelance professional pianist, in addition to teaching at the city’s Settlement Music School.

She will be joined by Daniel Kuehler, who graduated from UMSL in 2014 and is now pursuing a graduate degree in music at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and David Doran, who studied with Voskoboynikova at UMSL and is pursuing a graduate degree in music at the University of Missouri–Columbia. The performance will celebrate the 100th birthday of renowned pianist Sviatoslav Richter, and feature pieces by Domenico Scarlatti, Robert Schumann, Alexander Scriabin, Peter Tchaikovsky, Rodion Shchedrin and Nikolai Kapustin.

“Everyone in this concert will be performing big and exciting pieces of the  piano repertoire,” Voskoboynikova said. The performers are very dedicated, serious, inspired by music and passionate in their approaches. I am super proud of them.”

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m., April 21, in the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Media Coverage:
St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU

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