Melodey and Marc Soong – Courtesy Photo
By May S. Ruiz
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything,” Plato wisely declared.
For San Gabriel Valley siblings, Melodey and Marc Soong, the influence of music is obvious. Music is part of their life; they grew up surrounded by it. Melodey was four and Marc was three when they started taking piano lessons at the former Yamaha School in Arcadia. They both are currently studying under the tutelage of Professor Daniel Pollack and Vladimir Khomyakov of the USC Thornton School of Music.
On October 14, 2017 Melodey and Marc will share their love of music as well as support a cause – they will hold a piano concert to benefit Michael J. Fox’s (Team Fox) Parkinson’s Disease Research (click here to donate). To be held at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, the concert will feature pieces ranging from the Baroque to the late Romantic period.
Sixteen-year-old Melodey has won local and international competitions including the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, the California Association of Professional Music Teachers for Contemporary Music Festival, the San Jose International Piano Competition, and the Seattle International Piano Competition.
These various piano competitions and festivals have taken Melodey in several parts of the United States and abroad. She has performed in several venues – the Isaac Stern Auditorium Perelman Stage and the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, Zipper Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and Sala dei Notari in Perugia, Italy.
Twice Melodey was chosen as a winner of the Young Musician’s Foundation Scholarship Award.
A twelfth grader at Mayfield Senior, Melodey is a member of the school’s Instrumental Conservatory. But she has other hobbies besides playing the piano; she also enjoys reading and writing. She satisfies her writing interest being a reporter and copy editor of Mayfield School’s newspaper.
While playing the piano is an avocation she would always nurture, Melodey intends to pursue a medical degree. She interns in the Nursing and Music Therapy departments at Arcadia Methodist Hospital.
Like his sister, 14-year-old Marc has reaped the same laurels and has added other awards – Classics Alive Young Artists; the Redlands Bowl Young Artists; and the Los Angeles Liszt Competitions – to the list.
The venues where Marc has played the piano include the Isaac Stern Auditorium Perelman Stage and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Zipper Concert Hall, and the Redlands Bowl.
Marc was the recipient of the 2015-2016 Young Musician’s Foundation Award’s David Weiss Scholarship. He also volunteers with the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra.
Music isn’t Marc’s only pastime, he is also keen on reading, swimming and playing video games. An avid math and science enthusiast, he has attended several programs at Caltech and participated in the National Youth Leadership Forum: Explore STEM. He is currently a sophomore at Stanford University’s Online High School.
The Team Fox concert is Melodey’s and Marc’s very personal way of sharing music with everyone.
Melodey and Marc state, “Music is a constant in our life and is something we could always come back to; it also serves as a way to connect with others. Music has the ability to lift other people’s moods – bringing joy and happiness to those who may not be in the best spirits. Music has the power to transform, to touch, and ignite emotion.
We are incredibly fortunate to have been exposed to music early on. We are so very grateful for this privilege and we would like to give back to the community. Our grandmother had Parkinson’s Disease so we decided to hold a concert to benefit research into it. We hope that through this benefit event we can raise funds and awareness for Parkinson’s.”
To be held from 5:30 to 7:00 at First Church of the Nazarene’s Lee Chapel, the first part of the concert features solos from Melodey. She will perform J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in D Minor; W. A. Mozart’s Sonata No. 8 in A Minor; Widmung/Dedication by R. Schumann/F. Liszt; P. Tchaikovsky’s Dumka, Op. 59; and Black Earth by F. Say.
There will be a short intermission after which Marc will take his turn on the stage. He will be playing S. Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in D Major; Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 in C-sharp Minor by F Liszt; S. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, accompanied by Dr. Vladimir Khomyakov; and Paraphrase Figaro’s Aria from the Barber of Seville by G. Rossini/G Ginzburg.
Melodey and Marc will conclude with a piano duo (two pianos, four hands) and play F. Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp Minor.
The repertoire includes a variety of solos, duo, concerto, and duets to delight the audience with different styles and periods of music. It would be an evening filled with enchanting music – that it is also an event to benefit those afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease is fortuitous. Even Plato would approve.