J. Paul Pepper (cont.)
He is a winner of various musical competitions, including WQED’s Performance in Pittsburgh, Duquesne University and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artists Competition, and the Mason Statewide Talent Search, for which he received a cash prize of $5,000. He is a 1997-1998 recipient of the Tucci Prize for Music Performance following a double recital in which he presented four hours of solo piano repertoire from Bach, Scarlatti, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Debussy, Satie, Rachmaninov, Ravel, and Shostakovich. He is also a recipient of Eastern Nazarene College's Artistic Communication and Outstanding Performance Awards, which he claimed four times. He is a past scholarship winner at the Pennsylvania Gov- ernor’s School for the Arts and a past guest performer at the Pittsburgh Symphony Or- chestra’s Fan Appreciation Day. J. Paul won a full music scholarship to Eastern Na- zarene College in Boston, MA. At the height of his classical piano days, in early 2004, J. Paul performed Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor in a private recital at the home of his teacher Natalie Phillips in Squirrel Hill, PA.
In 2013-2014, he performed at the Washington County Wine, Jazz and Pops Festival, presenting piano-voice covers of Muse, Radiohead, Counting Crows, and Coldplay as well as several of his own compositions. More recently, he is a 2015 Kean Quest Talent Search finalist and Audience Choice Award winner for his piano-voice performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Music of the Night” and of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” J. Paul is a 2019 competitor in the Pittsburgh Concert Society’s Major Artist Auditions, where he’ll perform Beethoven’s ‘Appassionata’ and an original composition entitled, “Prayers From Auschwitz.”
In addition to performing and teaching a variety of musical genres, J. Paul enjoys com- posing, arranging, accompanying, and songwriting. You can hear many of his composi- tions and arrangements on his YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/JPaulPepper. You can also hear him perform a diverse mixture of classical piano solos on his two al- bums, Recital Favorites and The Chopin Album, recorded live over two days in 2003 at the Duquesne University School of Music. In 2002 he wrote, performed, and producedResolution, a classically-influenced trance and electronica album. He is currently recording an EP as part of his Kean Quest winner’s package.
Besides his competition and concert performances, J. Paul has performed a number of charity events benefiting the Bethel Orphanage in San Luis, Rio Colorado, Mexico. He’s also used his music to raise money for Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Child Sponsorship Program in Haiti and Pakistan as well as their Refugee and Immigrant Support Fund. For the last several years, he has performed at Heartfest, a local non- profit which fundraises to find a cure for congenital heart disease.
J. Paul served as a piano teacher at the acclaimed Meyer Music Academy in Kansas City from 2006-2011. He served as a music instructor at South Hills Music Academy in McMurray from January 2014-December 2015. While there, he taught piano, voice and trumpet at all levels as well as beginner to intermediate guitar and percussion. From March-December 2015, he served as the academy's creative director. He is the co- founder of Synergy Performing Arts Academy, which opened in Canonsburg in No- vember 2015. J. Paul now teaches exclusively from his home in McMurray, PA. He is a member of the Pittsburgh Piano Teachers Association, the National Guild of Piano Teachers, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. In addition to teaching, he performs regularly at festivals, churches, and weddings, and as an accompanist, across the Pittsburgh area. He has upcoming piano-voice performances throughout the holiday season as well as a full piano and voice concert next May.
J. Paul offers a holistic approach to his piano and voice students. Where many teachers limit their students with an emphasis on performance, on appearing, he begins with technique and artistry, meeting individual students where they are as young musicians while keeping the highest ideals of achievement in mind from the beginning of the teaching process. His commitment to each and every student becoming better from a technical and artistic perspective ensures continual and efficient progress on their part, whether they wish to cover merely the fundamentals of playing or to achieve mastery of their instrument. He sees music education as a way to inspire and enrich the hearts and lives of his students for a lifetime.
Aside from teaching and making music, his interests include running, hiking, traveling, reading, writing, meditating, and finding hands to hold at the intersection of science, phi- losophy, and religion. J. Paul has degrees in biology, philosophy, music, and religion. His favorite TV show is True Detective (Season 1), he’s addicted to black coffee, and he’s read the complete works of Friedrich Nietzsche.
He lives in McMurray with his son, Journey, and their moody cat, Kung Fu Kittybug.