A packed room of students gathered to listen to the tranquil harmony of a violin and piano being played in the music hall at Pierce College on Thursday, March 13.
Dutch violinist Nicolette van der Bogerd, also former Pierce College student, came back to Pierce to showcase her graduate recital.
Van der Bogerd started playing the violin at the age of eight. In the Netherlands, she performed with the Rotterdam Young Philharmonic at the Conservatory of Rotterdam. Before coming to the United States in 2007, she participated in international music festivals in Italy, Germany and New York.
After two years at Pierce she transferred to Bob Cole conservatory at Cal State Long Beach, and finished her bachelor’s in music in 2012. She also stayed to pursue two master’s degrees in musicology and violin performance.
“I’ve been preparing for this for about a year,” van der Bogerd said. “I’m graduating this spring, getting my master’s degree in violin performance. I was like ‘well I can try my graduate recital out here.’ You know, it’s always a good thing to try out your performances.”
A recital is part of the requirement for a degree in music. It takes about two years to prepare for a recital and get a master’s degree. A thesis is also written on the pieces that are played.
Jim Bergman, Pierce College music professor, thought the recital went great.
“What’s different about this is that she’s a graduate of here,” said Bergman. “Most of the people that I’ve had were either colleagues (professionals) or doctoral students, from UCLA, USC or Colburn. But this is the first graduate at Pierce that’s gone on. Not only is she playing, she’s doing the academic side too.”
According to Bergman, graduate recitals are a tough thing to do.
“When the degree is harder, the more recitals you will have to do,” Bergman said. “Doctoral students might have to do three recitals or more and do research on all the pieces.”
Van der Bogerd chose Pierce to showcase her work before her actual graduate recital, which is on March 23 at Cal State Long Beach. She was referred to Bergman by several of her music instructors who knew her at Pierce.
“I like it here because I used to go to school here,” van der Boger said. “It is kind of an out-of-body experience because you see all these people in front of you. They’re here and they could have been somewhere else. So it’s my job to do really well. I’m happy to help out and be able to add something for their lives.”
One of the students who came to watch van der Boger’s performance thought her style of music was “dissonant.”
“She’s a marvelous musician, although that was not my style of music,” said Diane Lautman, who is retired and takes senior classes at Pierce. “But what she played was done beautifully, expertly.”
Music major D’Andre Abreyo, 19, commented that the performance was pretty cool.
“She did a lot of pizzicato (plucking the strings of the instrument instead of using the bow), she used her fingers a lot,” Abreyo said. “There was a lot of dark cords, really dark. Then it uplifted and went back down. It was constantly like a wave. My style is more uplifting.”
Pim de Boer, 80, who sings in the choir and takes senior classes at Pierce thought van der Boger was “unbelievably talented.”
“I think she’s great. I’m very proud of her because I’m also from Holland. And she’s from Holland. She’s a nice lady. I’m absolutely proud of her,” Boer said.