Jaehyun Park

Jaehyun Park is a Ph.D candidate at Stanford, majoring in Computer Science. Though he is very dedicated to his academic work in theoretical computer science, when he is not programming or solving problems, he plays his favorite pieces on piano. His favorite composers include Chopin, Liszt, and Rachmaninoff. Jaehyun grew up in South Korea and began studying piano at the age of six, as most Korean kids do. And again, as most Korean kids do, he lost interest and stopped taking lessons after three years. However, after that time, he began following a very unusual path. One day in 2002, he sat in front of his piano, which hadn't been touched in years, and began playing theme songs from his favorite video games. Then he gradually moved toward more challenging works, and with the help of his piano teacher, he was able to make a big leap forward. By the end of 2004, he had learned many of the most popular solos by Chopin and Liszt. Although he had to stop taking piano lessons because of other academic work, he kept learning, mostly from other pianists' recordings. Jaehyun began studying with Professor George Barth in his sophomore year at Stanford. He (re)learned how to read music, how to interpret, and how to bring his interpretation to life at the piano. Also, instead of learning many different pieces as he had been doing for years, he focused on a small set of pieces, polishing them over and over. The new methodology has proven to be very fruitful. In 2012, he was awarded the Humanities & Sciences Undergraduate Prize in Music for his performance of Chopin's Ballade No. 4 in F minor.

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