Music Building 205
Choral Conducting, Piano, Organ
Steve Hodson is Professor of Music and Director of Piano Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. He holds a bachelor's degree from Lewis and Clark College with emphasis in piano performance, a master's degree from the University of Oregon, also with emphasis in piano performance, and a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he accompanied the top graduate choir.
A seasoned pedagogue and master teacher, Hodson teaches efficient and healthy physical movement at the keyboard, beauty of tone, and a singing legato through arm weight. His particular areas of expertise in piano teaching and performance include arm-weight techniques and the keyboard music of Bach and of Chopin.
Dr. Hodson’s teaching style is designed to inspire, challenge, and encourage his students, often Socratically. He helps Westmont piano students pursue excellent technique, broad repertoire, and depth of understanding of the music they are performing, both in form and in expressiveness.
Hodson enjoys guiding his students through a wide variety of piano repertoire from early Baroque to very recently composed music. (He is a fan of the piano music of Philip Glass and John Adams.) Hodson is also a professional organist and early music enthusiast (as well as artistic director and conductor of the Santa Barbara Master Chorale).
Hodson’s performances – by memory – include several Beethoven sonatas, a Bach toccata, a Chopin ballade, and all twenty-four of Chopin preludes. He has appeared as a Mozart concerto soloist with the Westmont Orchestra, and performed Bach's Concerto for Two Harpsichords and Strings, and more. An enthusiastic and seasoned accompanist/collaborator, Hodson wrote part of his doctoral thesis on the art of accompanying.
Hodson’s piano teachers included Lillian Roberts, Nellie Tholen, Charles Farmer, and Victor Steinhardt. Nellie Tholen studied music with Gottfried Galston, a pupil of Ferruccio Busoni; she was a recognized expert in the efficient and effective use of arm weight in piano performance. Victor Steinhardt studied piano with Aube Tzerko (Artur Schnabel) and Rosina Lhevinne (Vasily Ilyich Safonov).
Significant representative students in recent years at Westmont have included the college’s “first senior” (or valedictorian), Aaron Wilk, Monroe Scholar, triple major top graduate in music, top graduate in Chemistry, top graduate in Biology, one of four 2016 graduates with a 4.0 GPA who are thus the top graduates of the entire college. As Hodson’s piano student for four years, Aaron won multiple performance-with-orchestra honors and both second, and then first place in the prestigious Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation. Aaron is now working on a combined PhD/MD program at Stanford (one of 10 chosen from 1200 applications). He continues to study and perform on piano including a recent (2018) all-Prokofiev recital at Stanford.
Recent Music Education graduate (2018) Chelsie Sen, is returning to her native Hawaii where a music job awaits her at her alma mater, Iolani School and where she will begin her masters program in music at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
Another former Hodson Westmont student pianist is music major Zelin Luan, native of China and winner of several scholarship awards. Current Hodson students (2018) include Merckx Dascomb, a native Santa Barbaran and theatre arts major currently preparing for his senior recital (in 2019) while completing a music minor, and Jezreel Real, music composition major, who recently performed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on tour with the Westmont Orchestra in Ireland and England.
Dr. Hodson is pleased to teach in the context of Westmont’s “All Steinway School” collection of fine instruments. Every piano in the music department, including 14 grand pianos, and a dozen uprights, are Steinways. To supplement these beautiful instruments, Westmont also has two clavichords, four organs (two of them pipe organs), four harpsichords, a brand-new continuo organ, and a beautiful, recently acquired authentic Fortepiano.