A Grand Opportunity

On Thursday evening, September 15, Elliott “Jaeman” Shin ’25 and Morgan Fanyo-Tabak ’23, both talented pianists, spent time with the accomplished Dr. Charles Hulin, a visiting artist, supported by the Class of 2005 Visiting Artists Fund, which allows for guest artists, storytellers, and other performers to work with students to deepen their aesthetic appreciation.

The session started with a Q&A followed by performances by the boys. Shin played Frederic Chopin’s “Ballade No. 3 in A-Flat Major” and Fanyo-Tabak played Sergei Rachmaninov’s “Moment Musicaux No. 4 in E minor.” Hulin offered the young musicians feedback in real time. “It was intense and purposeful,” said Ariel Dechosa, Gilman’s director of music, who attended Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University with Hulin. “The boys were so flexible that they were able to adopt the ideas that Dr. Hulin gave them right away.”

The master class took place in the Alumni Auditorium, where Gilman’s Steinway piano is kept and used for special events throughout the year, such as the Cum Laude ceremony and school concerts. The procurement of the piano, under the leadership of Headmaster John E. Schmick in 2013, was made possible by the generosity of a group of parent and alumni donors who were invested in the music and arts program at Gilman. 

“It’s like the Rolls-Royce of pianos,” Dechosa said. “We take pride in the fact that our boys are able to access an instrument of this quality at Gilman.”

Music was one of the last aspects of school life to return to normal after pandemic restrictions limited how music could be played and performed for the better part of two years. “Gilman really supports musical endeavors,” Dechosa said. “Whenever we have opportunities to expose our Hounds to music, we will do so.”

More About Dr. Hulin

Dr. Charles Hulin’s musical life started in his childhood home where his mother taught him to sing songs his father loved and introduced him to the fundamentals of music reading, piano technique, and musicality. He was guided through the crucial pre-college years by Drs. Gene and Judith Barban of Winthrop University and Dr. Paul Tardif of East Carolina. He completed his professional training with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky and Ellen Mack at The Juilliard School and Peabody Conservatory while participating in the masterclasses of Leon Fleisher.

A prize winner in the Hilton Head International Piano Competition and a recipient of special recognition for collaborative performance in the William Garrison Piano Competition, Dr. Hulin performed a great deal in the Mid-Atlantic region before moving to Florida to teach at Southeastern University. Principal performances included frequent chamber appearances with members of the United States Naval Academy Band and piano soloist for performances of the Richmond Ballet.

Since moving to Florida, Dr. Hulin has focused on creating pedagogical materials culminating in a four-volume piano curriculum inspired by stories of the Irish Saint, Columba. His more recent artistic activities have included performances and premieres in Florence, Italy and Anykščiai, Lithuania as well as a concert of Chinese art song in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall with his colleague, Shudong Braamse. He has a passionate interest in the expression of faith through music which has been an ongoing focus of collaborations with flutist Jeremy McEntire and tenor Jeff Prillaman at the Lasker Summer Music Festival, a Christian retreat for classical musicians.