Artist Spotlight: Erika Chagin

 Artist Spotlight: Erika Chagin

 Jin Lee ’22
Contributing Writer

 Erika Chagin ’21 in downtown Nashville.

 The piano in the Chapel is used for two reasons: playing the Alma Mater or playing a piece that is worth sharing. The latter is often done by Erika Chagin ’21, one of Western Reserve Academy’s most talented pianists! 

Erika has been playing piano since the age of two, a total of 15 years. She also has experience playing the violin, harpsichord, cello and guitar, which is not a common combination of instruments to master. Throughout her music career at WRA, she has been enrolled in CL Music Theory and Orchestra, and she is currently participating in Studio Music and Afternoon Music. Outside of school she plays for the Cleveland Institute of Music, a high-standard private music institution with a music program that ranks tenth in  the country. So, how did her hard work play out? 

So far, Erika has won three consecutive first-place titles in Piano Guild competitions, five consecutive first-place titles in Solo & Ensemble competitions and second place internationally in the North American division of the Singapore Raffles Art & Culture Festival. She was also invited to join piano teachers and graduate students at the Cleveland Institute of Music to travel and tour Italy. Not only does Erika shine on the formal stage. One time, she had to perform as a sub-pianist at a wedding because the supposed pianist did not show up. Erika’s ability to perform at a moment’s notice is a testament to her talent.

Erika’s talent stems from her passion for music. When asked the best part about playing piano, she responded: “There’s nothing cooler than playing a slow, romantic piece late at night in my living room; it’s a super open space so the sound is super echoey and beautiful… also the amazing adrenaline rush you get when playing a super intense, difficult section of a song.” Her favorite genre to play is the romantic era’s classical music, a genre with a lot of emotion and large chords. In alignment to her favorite genre, she said her favorite artists are Beethoven and Rachmaninoff, who compose powerful, grandiose and emotional pieces that portray specific motifs that are easily recognized. If the “adrenaline rush” of playing Beethoven’s Sonata intrigues you, it would not be such a bad idea to give it a try. A word of advice from Erika to any new pianist is to relax the hands! Also, if you ever feel discouraged from messing up a piece, remember this: Erika once performed at Baldwin Wallace University but messed up her entire run. However, since the piece was so fast and loud, nobody knew that she got every single note wrong.

We are so thankful that Erika shared her talent for playing piano with the community at morning meeting. With her love for music, we know she has great things ahead. Congratulations on everything, Erika! 

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