Monica and Scott Wheeler
Morningside: A Portrait of Monica Jakuc (2007) (commissioned by Smith College in honor of her retirement)
To write this portrait of Monica Jakuc, I visited her home on Morningside Drive in Florence, Massachusetts, not far from Smith College, where I was her piano student throughout my undergraduate career. (I was down the road at Amherst College, where as a freshman I had signed up for lessons and had the blind good luck to be assigned to Monica’s studio at Smith.) The morning of my visit was bright and sunny; we sat in her music room, which is dominated by two fortepianos and a modern Bösendorfer. The room reminded me of Monica’s connection to the classical keyboard tradition; at the same time, I was aware of her connection to the natural beauty surrounding her home in the woods. Above all, I was aware of the profoundly expressive musicality that Monica has shared with me and with so many students, colleagues, and audience members.
This piece is written to be played on a fortepiano including a high G. To be played on a more traditional early fortepiano, the piece can be transposed down a step. It should also sound fine on a modern piano.
The portrait was commissioned by the Smith College Music Department, with the premiere scheduled at the February 2008 recital of Monica Jakuc, on the occasion of her retirement.