Bio and photos

Click here to skip down to photos and a one-paragraph bio.

Heather W. Reichgott is a classical pianist located in western Massachusetts. Heather became hooked on the piano in early childhood, dancing around the living room as her mother played Beethoven, and constantly climbing up onto the bench to improvise on her own. She studied Suzuki piano with Anne Parker in Newtown, PA, and continued her studies with Kathy Krupa (Solebury, PA), Edward Ferdinand (Middletown, PA) and Cassandra Carr (Seattle, WA).

Heather began accompanying at a young age, playing for elementary school chorus and chamber music with peers. As a teenager, Heather continued to play and perform in everything from classical piano festivals to musical theatre. Awards from this period include the Award for Excellence in Concerto Performance at the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival, given by Seymour Bernstein. She also studied classical ballet and developed a growing interest in the Christian faith and theology. Meanwhile, she struggled with growing tension in her hands and arms that ultimately became tendonitis and ganglion cysts in both wrists. Although she never stopped playing, injury became a growing restriction on her practice time and her technical development throughout her teens.

Heather entered Oberlin College as a religion major planning to pursue a call to ministry and to make music as much as she could. Upon arrival she was so injured as to barely be able to play. She was fortunate to be placed in the studio of Peter Takacs at the Oberlin Conservatory, and her studies with him focused on correcting technique so as to rehabilitate her injuries and enable her to work up to playing for longer periods of time. While in college Heather began working regularly as a musician. She accompanied conservatory students' recitals, served as a substitute musician at churches in Oberlin, and paid for her ballet classes by accompanying younger students' classes at Ohio Dance Theatre.

While music has always been the most meaningful aspect of church life for Heather, it wasn't until late in her graduate studies in religion that she began exploring the possibility of serving as a church musician. She served as organist and pianist at Memorial Baptist Church in Hartford (CT) from 2013 to 2015, then became Minister of Music at the United Methodist Church of South Hadley (MA) in the neighborhood where she lives and teaches. Heather directs the choir, assists in worship planning and plays for services every week.

In addition to her service as Minister of Music, Heather teaches a thriving private Suzuki piano studio of between 25 and 30 students from age 3 to retired adults. She continued her own piano studies for three years with Alissa Leiser and for one year with Gregory Hayes, and now enjoys an active and varied career as a performer in New England. She has been a pianist with Amherst Ballet and the Five College Dance Department since 2008, where she plays primarily for ballet classes and is regularly chosen for master classes by guest artists including the Paul Taylor Dance Company and American Ballet Theatre. She has also been the pianist for dance performances including a ballet set to Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) by Schumann. She is grateful every day to be able to play for many hours without pain or injury.

As Heather spends so much time playing music for people who are dancing or praying, she is always thinking of how to engage the ears, bodies and hearts of everyone in the room, even in a formal concert. She is deeply interested in rhythm as an emotional element of music. Heather plays solo and collaborative repertoire from the early Baroque to the present day, spending much of her time with Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music. Heather's recordings include an album of ballet class music, A Musical Feast for Ballet Class (2011), and an album of music by contemporary composers, Preludes, Problems & Prayers (2014). In 2016 she recorded an album entitled Night Spirit which includes pieces by Debussy, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Nickos Harizanos, Beethoven, Fauré, Chopin, and improvisations on hymn tunes. It will be released later in 2017. All her recordings are available on cdbaby.com.






The high-resolution photos below were taken by Sam Masinter in 2013.





Heather W. Reichgott is a classical pianist located in western Massachusetts. She began Suzuki piano study with Anne Parker in Newtown (PA). Her teachers have included Cassandra Carr (Seattle WA), Peter Takacs (Oberlin Conservatory of Music), Alissa Leiser (Amherst MA) and Gregory Hayes (Northampton MA). Heather began accompanying at a young age and began working regularly as a musician while in college. Today she serves as Minister of Music at the United Methodist Church of South Hadley (MA), teaches a thriving private Suzuki piano studio, and enjoys an active and varied career as a performer in New England. She has been a pianist with Amherst Ballet and the Five College Dance Department since 2008. As Heather spends so much time playing music for people who are dancing or praying, she is always thinking of how to engage the ears, bodies and hearts of everyone in the room, even in a formal concert. She is deeply interested in rhythm as an emotional element of music. Heather plays solo and collaborative repertoire from the early Baroque to the present day, spending much of her time with Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music. Heather's recordings include an album of ballet class music, A Musical Feast for Ballet Class (2011), and an album of music by contemporary composers, Preludes, Problems & Prayers (2014). In 2016 she recorded an album entitled Night Spirit which includes pieces by Debussy, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Nickos Harizanos, Beethoven, Fauré, Chopin, and improvisations on hymn tunes. It will be released later in 2017.

No comments:

Post a Comment