Convocation for the School of Communications will take place at 2 p.m. on April 27
Graduating keyboard performance major Hyrum Arnesen will perform “Transcendental Étude No. 11 in D-flat,” also called “Harmonies of the Evening,” by Franz Liszt, at the convocation for the School of Communications.
“I love this piece for its distinctive colors and dramatic flare,” Arnesen said. “For those of us who will never go to space, this piece may be the closest we ever get to the feeling of hurtling through the cosmos. I chose this piece because it personally expresses many emotions I have and I think it can be a rewarding and ennobling experience for the audience.”
Born and raised in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Arnesen could not see himself studying anything other than music because he “couldn’t bear to stop practicing and performing” and knew he had much more to learn. He has enjoyed his time studying piano because of the people he has met and the opportunity to work with professors one-on-one each week.
“Being a music major requires the best of me,” Arnesen said. “Hard work, tears, joy and sometimes even blood go into practicing and preparing to perform as well as learning about theory and music history. It is a very personal and soul-stretching endeavor.”
Arnesen cited numerous opportunities that have influenced him while studying at BYU. He served as the vice president of the BYU chapter of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), sang in the BYU Men’s Chorus and participated in numerous performances and competitions. Outside of music, Arnesen also enjoyed taking courses in and working as a teaching assistant in physics.
“In my academic career, I am most proud of the musician I have become. Looking back when I was an incoming freshmen, I see a lot of growth and maturity as an artist. I understand music much more and my fingers have a greater ability to make the sounds I want to make. At the same time, I realize there is more room for growth.”
After graduating, Arnesen’s goal is to eventually become a professor. “I enjoy teaching, performing and working with other great musicians,” Arnesen said. “My hope is to have a positive impact on many young musicians.”
Q & A
What did you want to be when you grew up?
“I always thought I’d be an engineer. As a kid, I always wanted to be the best I could be in every area. I wanted to be a good child and work hard. I loved being a leader, someone people looked up to, among my peers.”
Where do you find inspiration?
“Musically, I find inspiration in pianists like Evgeny Kissin, Martha Argerich, Leon Fleischer, Daniil Trifonov and Krystian Zimmerman, etc. I also find inspiration from the way my friends play; I am continually amazed by them. My greatest inspiration comes from prayer and scripture study. These two practices give me motivation to work hard and make music that will change my life and the lives of others. They also motivate me to be the best person I can be.”
What was the hardest challenge you had to overcome at BYU?
“After giving my sophomore recital in Dec. 2015, I began preparing for a performance with the BYU Symphony Orchestra. During these months I developed bad tendonitis. I performed a 15-minute long concerto by Liszt in February with my arms blazing in pain. Afterwards I had to go back to step one of piano playing. I couldn’t practice very much because of the pain and completely analyzed every part of my piano playing. I practiced every day for several weeks by just playing one note over and over, trying to relax the way I should. My lessons were very similar — slow, painful practice. Not only was it physically painful but also emotionally devastating. I couldn’t do what I had dreamed of doing for years. It took me months to overcome and I still work to relax and play correctly every day. I am infinitely grateful for this experience because it enabled me to play at a level higher than I had ever imagined.
What is your favorite snack?
“Every day, since my first day at BYU, I bring a bagel, an apple and a sandwich to school with me. Sometimes I bring dinner if it will be a long night. After Christmas, I bring one small candy with me every day until my Christmas candy is all gone.”
What is your favorite place to take a nap?
“Underneath the piano.”