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Students Meet Renowned Pianist

Lainey S. Cronk, April 13, 2010
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Students and music faculty join pianist Leon Bates and director and professor Asher Raboy (front) following a Napa Valley Symphony concert. Photo by Natalie Robles.

On April 11 after a Napa Valley Symphony concert at Lincoln Theater in Yountville, Pacific Union College music students joined their professor Asher Raboy on the stage to meet pianist Leon Bates.

Raboy, who has been music director of the symphony since 1990 and teaches music at PUC, directed a concert featuring several of his original compositions. The concert included a piano concerto featuring Bates, one of Raboy’s long-time collaborators (and one of America's top pianists).

After the concert, many of the PUC students who had attended came to the stage to meet Bates, pose for photos, and receive autographs. Four of these students had enjoyed a Master Class with Bates the previous evening, and one turned pages for him during the Symphony concert. The PUC Musical Arts Symposium, a student music club, also organized to attend. Some students in the current Survey of Music class were there to fulfill concert attendance assignments, and PUC music ensemble members attended as well. "It was delightful to see so many of them," Raboy said later. "It's great to see PUC and the Symphony have this great interaction."

As Raboy nears the conclusion of his time with the Symphony, having decided to step down from his role as music director after 20 years, he directed this concert titled "Retrospective: The Last 20 Years" and featuring three original works: the world premier of “The Last 20 Years,” the revival of  “Orchestral Dances” and “Piano Concerto,” and “The Coming Storm.”

At PUC, Raboy directs the symphonic wind ensemble and teaches classes in theory and composition. His experience and connections as a director, teacher, and composer and his energy for practical learning have made him a valuable asset to PUC's music students. "It was a fabulous concert, but more importantly, Asher was so gracious to PUC students," said PUC vice president Pam Sadler after the Lincoln Theater concert. "We are fortunate to have Asher teaching here."