From the age of five, Jason Stoll has had a gift for playing the piano. Now an award-winning senior, Stoll is graduating from CSUN and looking forward to attending The Juilliard School for his Master’s Degree.
“I started to take piano lessons at the age of five, but I didn’t really appreciate it growing up though,” Stoll said. “My parents told me and my three sisters that we had to take piano lessons all the way until we were 18 years old. I really dreaded it, but still stuck with it.”
With his perseverance and dedication throughout the years, Stoll eventually developed a passion for the piano and began to take his playing seriously while attending Paraclete Catholic School.
“It was in high school that I started to work with the school choir and accompany them on their various performances and at masses,” Stoll said. “The music I played was a lot of fun and helped me grow as a musician. I also started to take more of an interest in the solo repertoire for the piano.”
Upon finishing high school, it was with encouragement from his father that Stoll decided to audition for the CSUN Piano Performance Program.
“I auditioned and to be honest, I didn’t think I would get in,” Stoll said. “I remembered walking up and down the practice rooms before my audition hearing the prospective students playing more intense pieces than what I had prepared.”
Stoll was accepted and said he “hit the ground running” from there on.
With the help of Dr. Dmitry Rachmanov and Dr. John Roscigno, throughout the past four years at CSUN, Stoll has played pieces consisting of works by Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Scarlatti, Liebermann, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninoff, Bartok, Lutoslawski and Ravel, among others.
“Jason possesses a fortuitous combination of innate musicality, meaning that he not only is receptive and sensitive to music as a listener, but he also has a gift of expressing music through his fingers with intellect and emotions, transmitting the sounds in an engaging, sensitive, intelligent and exciting manner, which is sincere and totally personal,” Rachmanov said. “He is also a natural pianist, someone who enjoys playing the instrument and for whom playing is easy and comfortable and who has a natural technique and is capable of playing challenging works brilliantly.”
Rachmanov also said for the last two summers, Stoll attended a piano summer school at the Adamant Music School in Vermont. It was there where he had total immersion piano experiences and worked with world class pianists such as Irish pianist John O’Conor, who supported him and took him to his class at Aspen this summer.
Stoll said he was accepted to participate in the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado this summer, which he will be attending from June to July. He was also selected from a strong international pool of candidates to be one of 25 competitors of the first American Paderewski Piano Competition that will be held in L.A. next month.
Stoll has also been a recipient of several CSUN scholarships. In December of 2009 he won the school’s yearly concerto competition, performing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the CSUN Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Roscigno.
“He learned a lot of repertoire quickly, and it was evident to me that he was going to be one of the most dedicated students I had seen in a long time,” said Roscigno of one of his first encounters with Stoll. “I knew Jason was a bit different when I asked him one day what group he was listening to on his iPod. He said, ‘I’m listening to Rubenstein play Chopin.’ That pretty much tells the story of his dedication.”
Aside from the numerous pieces that Stoll has played, he has also collaborated with a variety of different projects.
“I’ve played many duos, trios, quartets etc.,” Stoll said. “As a part of my degree, I had to present a junior and senior recital which were both very successful. I love to perform onstage. Playing and performing music of great composers is a real honor, and I feel that I have something to say through my music making.”
After finishing Juilliard, Stoll said he hopes to obtain an Artist Diploma, a non-academic degree that focuses strictly on performance.
“Who knows, later down the line, I may end up working with most of the musicians that I studied with while at CSUN,” Stoll said. “I feel that music has always been an important part of my life and will remain that way for the rest of my existence.”