Illinois National Guard


 
21 Jul 2014
Public Affairs Office
Illinois National Guard pianist performs in New York City
Story by Staff Sgt. Aleah M. Castrejon, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Outside of his military duties, Capt. Ian Gindes of Urbana, Illinois, with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion (BSTB) in Machesney Park, Illinois, is a professional concert pianist. 

In addition to playing the piano for 28 years and around the country for more than 15 years, Gindes enlisted in the California Army National Guard before transferring to the Illinois Army National Guard in 2004.  He commissioned as an officer in 2007 and is the S1, personnel officer for the 33rd BSTB.  

“Captain Gindes is passionate about his music, the preparation it takes is not simple,” said Maj. William Hotopp of Sandwich, Illinois, executive officer of the HHC, 33rd BSTB and has known Gindes for two years. “The high standard in which a concert pianist is held, takes weeks of preparation.  The passion and preparation of his concerts carries into his military duties. The preparation he puts into his performances is valuable to the Illinois Army National Guard because he puts the same effort into his military career.”

Gindes had several reasons why he enlisted at age 25.  

“My family was in a time of need when I first joined the Guard,” said Gindes.  “I wanted to make money and give back at the same time.  Plus joining the Guard sounded exciting, different and like an adventure.”

Born and raised in Visalia, California, Gindes' talent was first noticed by his father, Andrew. Nurturing his son's talent, his father encouraged Gindes to study with Bonnie Farrer, a pianist who coached Gindes through many performances, which attracted hundreds while playing Frederic Chopin’s works.  Chopin was a pianist of the Romantic era.

“I continued to play after my father recognized my talent at age 7, for multiple reasons,” said Gindes.  “He used to take me to concerts and watch many different artists.  Watching them play was very inspiring. From these experiences, I knew it’s what I have always wanted to do.”

Gindes grew up listening to his father play classical music, this being one of the reasons he chose the profession.

“Ian came to Illinois to audition for the doctoral position several years ago,” said Dr. Ian Hobson, Professor of Music at the University of Illinois and concert pianist who won the Leeds International piano competition in 1981.  “[When] We accepted him into the program and he came to study with me, I already knew his affinity for romantic music from his audition.  He has a particular flair for that sort of music; I guided him for several years accommodating his National Guard duties. I have heard him since play at highly successful concerts. He is always persuasive with the audience; he has his own personal style. He plays very well and I am looking forward to studying with him again. I am happy for his success.”

While Gindes enjoys playing music from all periods and genres, he specializes in American composers and composers of the romantic period through the 20th century whose music contains strong emotional content.

“The strong emotional music is a way to communicate with the audience,” said Gindes. “My father used to get on me for not being able to express myself thorough writing, but I can through music. It’s a way for me to be honest and connect with others.  The connection through strong emotional music helps.”

Gindes has performed at events to raise funds for military families and victims affected by terrorism and war.

“It is very important to me, to give back and use my talent for those families for relief,” said Gindes.  “It is imperative that I have a chance to do that.”

Gindes studied with Errol Haun at the University of Northern Colorado where he obtained a Master's of Music in piano performance. Gindes earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), under the guidance of Hobson.

“Studying with different professors pulled together the technical and musical abilities I use today,” said Gindes. “Each one of them shaped how I play. These professors knew what would work for an audience and what I needed to practice to get there.”

In 2004, Gindes performed at the American Liszt Society Symposium in Champaign, Illinois, for various scholars and musicians. He said this was a substantial move in his career.

“This was the first time I actually started to play with professionals,” said Gindes.  “I was primarily a student, but started to play among scholars and professional concert pianists.”  

Later, Gindes competed and won first prize in the 2011 Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, making his Weill Recital Hall debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

“It was a step forward.  It gave me the recognition and to say I played there,” said Gindes. “It showed how hard I had to work.  It was an intense and a wonderful feeling!  I was picked out of approximately 400 applicants.”

Concerts can be competitive and require constant work. Gindes attributes his military experience in assisting with his civilian career.

“I am resilient and have a lot of courage because of the military,” said Gindes.  “Selfless service, an Army value, has helped shaped me.  I want to continue to give back to this great country, which I have a lot of respect for.”

Gindes is scheduled to perform at Steinway Hall in New York City, July 25, as part of the Alexander and Buono Festival.    

    ”I heard all of his performances at UIUC and had many conversations with him.  He is a talented pianist and a deeply dedicated and idealistic musician,” said Dr. William Heiles, Professor of Music and Chair of the Piano Division at UIUC. “He has a special affinity for romantic music, especially Liszt.  I've heard him play the ‘Embraceable You’ arrangement that he will play at Steinway Hall and I can assure you it will be a treat for the audience!”

 



Capt. Ian Gindes of Urbana, Illinois, with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Machesney Park, Illinois, a professional concert pianist, will perform at Steinway Hall in New York City, July 25, as part of the Alexander and Buono Festival. (Photo provided by Capt. Ian Gindes, Illinois Army National Guard)

Capt. Ian Gindes of Urbana, Illinois, with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Machesney Park, Illinois, a professional concert pianist plays at Carnegie Hall. He will perform at Steinway Hall in New York City, July 25, as part of the Alexander and Buono Festival. (Photo provided by Capt. Ian Gindes, Illinois Army National Guard)

Capt. Ian Gindes of Urbana, Illinois, with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Machesney Park, Illinois, a professional concert pianist will perform at Steinway Hall in New York City, July 25, as part of the Alexander and Buono Festival. (Photo provided by Capt. Ian Gindes, Illinois Army National Guard)

Ian Gindes of Urbana, Illinois, with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Machesney Park, Illinois, is promoted to the rank of captain. Gindes is a professional concert pianist who will perform at Steinway Hall in New York City, July 25, as part of the Alexander and Buono Festival. (Photo provided by Capt. Ian Gindes, Illinois Army National Guard)