Give Us a Song, You’re the Piano Man


“Astonishing.” “Cutting edge.” “Unbelievable.” These are just a few of the words that Myra Garvett used to describe her piano student of six years, Jake Landau ’13. Landau’s original music has already been performed by the New York Philharmonic and the New York Youth Symphony as well as the InterlochenCenter for the Arts, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and Avery Fisher Hall.

“I was flabbergasted when I first heard his pieces,” Garvett said.

His friend Jacqueline Devine ’13 agreed that he is a great music-maker.

“He often just fiddles around on the piano and makes incredible music,” she said.

Landau, however, stressed his passion for composition. “I can’t not compose,” Landau said. That’s why I compose.”

Garvett also emphasized Landau’s extensive knowledge of music.

“I don’t think there’s a piece of music he hasn’t examined,” she said.

In fact, Landau tested out of Music Theory in the JuilliardPre-College program, something no one else had done before. “He knew everything,” Garvett said.

Landau’s passion and talent has paid off, as Landau will be attending Juilliard in the fall and will be trained by the classical composer John Corigliano.

Landau said that he was very surprised when he learned he’d be studying with Corigliano, as Corigliano has never taken a freshman before. “I just [signed up for Corigliano] as a whim to see if I’d get in because that would be a huge deal,” Landau said.  “And I did.”

Corigliano has won many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for Music for his Symphony No. 2, an Oscar for Original Music Score for “The Red Violin,” and a Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition for “Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan.”

But Landau was also attracted to another quality of Corigliano’s: he has been able to make such a success from his music.

“Ultimately, I want to be able to live off my pen and paper just as he has,” Landau said.

Given the success that Landau has already enjoyed from his music, it seems likely that Landau will accomplish his goal.

“I see Jake accepting Oscars,” Devine said.