We had the good fortune of connecting with Lukasz Yoder and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lukasz, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I’m a strong believer in regretting the things done rather than those not done. After all, failure is a matter of perception: if I learn from my mistakes, I never failed, I grew. Spending many hours sitting alone in a dimly lit room, pursuing a career where supply tends to outpace demand, was inherently risky. Being a classical pianist is tough- there is fierce competition for relatively few opportunities. Deciding to pursue modeling, a career viewed with suspicion, was also risky. Are awesome photos of my chiseled abs really worth jeopardizing relationships with the older, often conservative audience that tends to attend classical piano concerts? All of these risks however, pale in comparison to my participation in HBO’s hit reality tv series Fboy Island. On the surface, Beethoven and ” Fboy Island” mesh about as well ice cream and bacon, but nevertheless I hoped to be the force that would drive these two very different worlds together, quite likely for the first time in in history. When was the last time a competent pianist participated in a dating reality tv series on a major television network? I think the answer may be never.

Did I succeed in meshing these two worlds? Honestly I’m not sure; given as I’m 22 I have only just begun. While Fboy Island was undoubtedly a huge risk, I must say I have not received much blowback from the classical music world. I have more piano students then I have before, continue to have performance opportunities, and most musicians have at least outwardly been supportive of my participation in the show.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I grew up in a musical family. Both of my parents teach piano, and my two younger brothers play as well; two out of the three of us actually currently study piano at UCLA! Our house literally doubled as a piano factory- music was being played from 8 am till midnight. Sometimes I wonder how our neighbors survived! I participated in and won a number of major competitions and awards, and then decided to pursue a bachelor of music degree with Professor Inna Faliks, Chair of the Piano Department at UCLA. A excerpt of my biography is pasted below:

Praised by the Los Angeles Opus for his “liquid sensitivity” and “formidable power” as a soloist, and for his “discreet exactitude” as a collaborative pianist, the inspiration for Łukasz’s pianism can perhaps best be traced to his experiences of the thunderous power of a twelve foot wave, or the sensuous delicacy of a desert sunset.

Grand Prize Winner of the Lansum International Music Festival, Lukasz is a top prizewinner of the Beverly Hills National Auditions, Claudette Sorel International Piano Competition in Fredonia, New York, Classics Alive National Auditions, The Kosciusko Foundations National Chopin Competition in Washington D.C, The International Chopin Competition in Hartford, Connecticut, Glendale Piano Competition, MTAC, MTNA, CAPMT State Finals, and the statewide Kathryn Gawartin Chopin Competition.

Lukasz has performed extensively on both coasts of the United States, Europe and Puerto Rico, in venues that include Zipper Hall of the Colburn School of Music, the Polish Embassy in Washington DC, the Kosciuszko Foundation’s headquarters in NYC, the Steinway Society of Puerto Rico, the Dzialynski Palace and White Hall of Poznan, Poland, as well as Zelazowa Wola, Chopin’s birthplace.

Recently, he embarked on a whirlwind tour of Southern California, performing on the Noontime Concert Series at Los Angeles City City College, the Modrzejewska Club Evening Concerts, The Music by the Sea Concert Series in Encinitas, and the Interludes Concert Series in Torrance, as well as the Classical Encounters Concert Series in Orange County (upcoming performances have been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic).

He has recorded for Polish Radio and Television, and been featured in the Polish and American Press.

In addition to piano, Lukasz is a model, currently represented in Southern California by Otto Models, and nationally and internationally by Main Line Models and Talent and Iamincover. His portfolio can be found on his website.

In between of his musical and modeling endeavors, Lukasz surfs as much as possible. He’s surfed twelve foot Manhattan beach, cracked three surfboards, stepped on five stingrays, seen ten turtles, and around five hundred dolphins. He’s hiked the Sierra Nevadas, off-roaded in Death Valley, rockclimbed Joshua Tree, got assaulted by monkeys in the Burmese jungle, and surfed everywhere from Mainland Mexico to Italy.

Lukasz is currently studying at the UCLA Herp Alpert School of Music on a full scholarship, under the tutelage Professor Inna Faliks, Chair of the Piano Department. He continues to be mentored by his mother, Roza Kostrzewska Yoder, as well as American Pianist Garrick Ohlsson.

Lukasz had a unique upbringing. He grew up homeschooled, and his mother taught him piano until college and teaches his two younger brothers. He documents his pianistic career, as well as random adventures on his Instagram, where he can be found as @barefoot_pianist .

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If this was their first time here, I’d definitely show them the beaches since I think they are incredible and throw in a morning surf lesson, probably el porto beach or possibly if they are a little more advanced, Malibu. The food options in LA are really incredible, but I think post surf the best food is definitely some tacos or possibly taquitos from Olivera Street, though depending how hungry we were in n out might the food of choice. Visits to Ruen Pair in Thai Town and Little Ethiopia would also be neccessary. The art scene in LA is also incredible! We would definitely go to Getty Center or possibly the Villa, and explore fashion district, and probably listen to a concert at Disney hall. In terms of night life, we’d check out the Victorian, Poppys, Bootsy Bellows and possibly nightingales.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother! she may not be supportive of all my decisions lately but her ambition focus and dedication has been crucial in shaping who I am.

Website: LukaszYoder.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lukasz_yoder/?hl=en

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