A graduated pre-medical student from Harvard College, Charlie Albright enrolls into the New England Conservatory Music School to achieve his dream of being a pianist. A 23 year-old young man from Seattle excitedly across the bridge that links the Harvard University Campus in Cambridge with Boston to get piano lessons while he was a medical student for four years. His footsteps against the pavement are full of great enthusiasm. His rectangular glasses emphasize his matching brown hair and eyes but when he shakes hands with another person, one may not notice his callused hands. He is half Korean and half Caucasian.
Albright often introduces himself by his Korean name, Park Chulsoo. His favorite food is his mother’s Kim-Chi Stew, which is very popular Korean food. His mother is Korean who emigrated from South Korea when she was in her 20s. She married an American and had Charlie and his younger sister Lillian Albright, starting a new family in Centralia, Washington. “We found out Charlie was gifted with piano skill when he was three years old, his mother Hyesoo Albright said. When he was three and half, he was able to play ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ by ear. He started his first piano lesson when he turned four but never learned how to read note until he was seven, and that is when his first teacher Nancy Adsit introduced him to the world of music. His outstanding talents led him to perform on national television by the age four. And until age 7, he only played by ear.
When Charlie was nine years old, his father was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and that is when he started showing his interests in science and medicine. He wanted to be involved in medical field when he saw his father was struggling with his disease.
In 2005, he joined the part of his Centralia High School program and graduated with highest Honors in Associate of Science Degree in 2007. Despite his involvement in science, his interests in piano continued to grow. He was elected as the youngest pianist the TCU/Cliburn Piano Institute of Texas in 2004. He later went on to win the Prizewinner in the 2005 for International Institute for Young Musicians, with many awards to follow.
He recently received the 2010 Gilmore Young Artist Award and an official Steinway Artist Award. A member of the roster of Young Concert Artists as winner of their 2009 International Auditions, Charlie has been given the opportunity to launch his career with recital debuts in New York and Washington, DC in the Young Concert Artists Series, as well as countless performances across the country.
When Mr. Albright started to attend college, he met his future teacher, Wha-Kyung Byun, a piano instructor at the New England Conservatory of Music. “When I met Charlie, I wanted to help him make the final connection with piano. He is truly a talented young man,” Ms. Byun said.
Everytime he walks across Anderson Memorial Bridge, he pauses to enjoy the view of the Charles River. “You see all types of people when you walk around Boston. Everyone is trying to catch their goals. I am not genius. It was hard for me like everyone else. Whenever I get frustrated, my mother told me that we are just who we are. Don’t be ashamed of who you are. You are the only one who controls you, I think what she said made me keep going,” Mr.Albright said.
He is a person who wants to be the medium that people use to connect with new and old emotions. “I still want to be a pianist. That was my dream and that still is my dream,” he said. Piano is like a medium in his life. He wants to inspire people by playing piano until he has no strength on his fingertips. © Hyunah Jang 2012