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
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
grew up listening to his father play classical music, this being one of the
reasons he chose the profession.
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.”
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.
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.”
has performed at events to raise funds for military families and victims
affected by terrorism and war.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
can be competitive and require constant work. Gindes attributes his military
experience in assisting with his civilian career.
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.”
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!”