At noon on Thursday, April 30, soprano Joy Xu along with pianist Joshua Pifer will perform a free concert at Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University as a part of the museum’s weekly series, “A Little Lunch Music.” The performance is sponsored by sponsored by Ursula’s Catering. The café menu is available online.
Soprano Chunyuan (Joy) Xu, a native of Beijing, China, received the Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Capital Normal University in Beijing. Since spring 2011, she has been a student at Auburn University, pursuing the Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance. While at Auburn, Ms. Xu, a student of Dr. Rosephanye Powell, has been featured as a soloist for performances on campus, in churches, and at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. In 2012, 2013, and 2015, Ms. Xu was a first-place winner at the state auditions of the Alabama Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. In addition to her studies, Ms. Xu maintains a private voice and piano studio in Auburn. She is married to Dr. Jianjun Dong, the Thomas and Jean Walter Professor of Physics, at Auburn University. The couple has one daughter, Angelina Dong, age five.
Dr. Joshua Kelley Pifer has a solo and collaborative career that has taken him to three continents. He regularly appears as guest artist, lecturer, and clinician at universities around the country and at national and state music teachers’ conferences, having adjudicated at over 30 festivals and competitions.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Joshua made his piano debut playing Haydn’s Concerto in A Major with the Kotani Chamber Ensemble. At age ten, Joshua performed as a vocalist for the MGM Tokyo Red Carpet premier of the movie Mr. Mom.
He is a founding member of the Duo Echo and the Oto Trio which includes internationally acclaimed artist Chikuen Kato, renown for exploring the interconnections between the Japanese arts of Sumie (black ink painting), shodo (calligraphy), and ikebana (flower arrangement), and the music of Japanese composers.
Joshua has commissioned and premiered works by 21st Century composers Andre Cormier, Justin Aftab, Gary Shields, Douglas Townsend, Andrea Clearfield, and is an advocate for the piano music of Alexander Tcherepnin.
Joshua is Lecturer in Piano at Auburn University where he teaches Applied Piano, Class Piano, and Music Skills. Joshua has previously served as faculty at The Florida State University, Wittenberg University and Miami University, and as artist-faculty at the Orfeo Music Festival in the Italian Alps.
He has been sought out by college and graduate level pianists who have suffered injuries from excessive tension in their playing, to help them overcome their problems and learn to play with much more individualistic freedom and ease.
Joshua has served as a choral conductor and organist for churches, and taught general music, keyboard, and choir at the elementary-school level. While in Southern California for ten years, Joshua ran a successful private studio producing young musicians, many of whom have won solo and composition competitions or continued their studies at music schools such as Juilliard, Thornton School of Music, University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Michigan.
Joshua completed his Bachelor’s Degree in pre-medicine, piano, and organ from Wittenberg University, his Master’s Degree from Miami University, and in 2009 he graduated with honors and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California. His major teachers include Antoinette Perry, Stewart Gordon, Dennis Thurmond, Robert Thomas, Donald Busarow, Magen Solomon, Sharon Lavery, and Robert Howat.
Aside from his musical and teaching activities, Joshua enjoys spending time with his wife and son playing tennis, golf, swimming, cooking, and making music together.