Megan Schandel Delivers Dazzling Performance at Senior Recital

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Student Megan Schandel leads the TU band (11/17/18). Photo by Gabby Crooks

Megan Schandel’s senior recital displayed that she is, without a doubt, a young star on the rise. Last Saturday, your correspondent had the pleasure of attending Schandel’s recital and the dexterity displayed by the blossoming artist within the single hour left me dazed and hungry for more. Out of the six pieces she presented, three were created in collaboration with other artists. The performance also included a suite that was composed solely by Schandel.

The program kicked off with Schandel performing one of the many Romantic Era Songs Without Words lyrical piano compositions originally by Felix Mendelssohn. This not only showcased the artist’s proficiency regarding the instrument but also displayed the meticulous level of thought put into the performance.

Growing up, Schandel was attracted to the drama and heightened emotion in the music of the romantic era. By starting her recital with this piece Schandel creates a parallel between the beginning of her performance and the beginning of her career in music.

Here is a performance of Mendelssohn’s piano composition:

The next three songs presented were all collaborations between Schandel and various other artists. The acoustic tracks “Pretend” performed by senior Taylor Mahlinger and “Bubbles” performed by senior Jenna Soderling were produced by Schandel. Both highlighted not only the vocal talent of Mahlinger and Soderling, but also Schandel’s ability as a producer to help translate the artist’s vision for the piece into a final product. (Disclosure: Taylor Mahlinger is also the Managing Editor for The Rambler). 

The second piece presented, “A Dream Within A Dream” let Schandel’s abilities as a producer shine the brightest. A song that displays a psychedelic rock influence, the heavily layered “A Dream Within A Dream” carries melodic harmonies that envelop you in a feeling mimicking that of a waking dream. Created in collaboration with Griffin Cobb, the two have produced a piece that truly shows a mastery of skill in music production.

The “Tarot Suite,” produced and composed solely by Schandel, also shows her proficiency in music production. Produced using the ProTools software and with MIDI instruments, Schandel draws inspiration from tarot cards—specifically, the Prisma Visions deck illustrated originally by James R. Eads.

The suite displays Schandel’s ability to draw inspiration from the world around her and translate that into music. The suite itself could be described as light and whimsical. Occasionally making use of a double harmonic major scale or Romani scales, the suite evokes intrigue and mystery much like her inspiration: tarot cards.

The recital ended with Schandel performing Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.8 in C minor, Op.13 ii. Allegro Cantabile, which was the first piece that inspired Schandel to take up the piano. The original piece is composed of 3 movements and to this day is one of Beethoven’s most celebrated pieces.

You can see the second movement, which Schandel performed, here as performed by Daniel Barenboim:

The performance was brought full circle as Schandel begins and ends with pieces that planted the seeds of her current musical interests. It was a very poetic notion to end her performance with the song that inspired her to create music in the first place.

With the level of skill displayed in her senior recital, I would not be surprised to hear more of Schandel’s accomplishments in music production in the future.