Enrolling without specifying a major, George Nicholas Gianopoulos ’07 expected his SUNY Oswego journey to proceed “con variazioni,” with changes. He was leaning toward computer science, when—as one of 126 students enrolled in MUS 101, a general education music appreciation course—he discovered his passion.
He played no instrument. He did not read music. He insists no one would care to hear him sing. Still, he was about to become a musician.
“The class met in Lanigan Hall,” Gianopoulos recalls. “Often, Dr. Juan LaManna played passages on the piano. It was incredible music. Music I hadn’t known existed.” Captivated, Gianopoulos registered for Introduction to Music Theory. He enrolled in piano lessons, having never played a piano, and quickly moved to private instruction with professor Robert Auler, D.M.A.
Declaring a music major and arts management minor, Gianopoulos became what former department chair
Dr. Julie Merchant calls “a very fine student.” She helped him set up an internship with the Syracuse Youth Orchestra, where he marked parts and learned behind-the-scenes skills.
“Nick is one of our success stories,” Merchant says. “Hard work on his part and close mentorship on the part of faculty helped him reach his dreams.”
Dr. Auler, who performed Gianopoulos’ “Theme and Variations,” Op. 15, No. 5, on campus last fall, says, “Certain students make your teaching career truly awesome. Nick is one of those. He had so much desire to learn.” He says Gianopoulos progressed quickly, taking on students of his own and working as a church musician. For his senior recital, he performed challenging compositions by Mozart, Schumann, Rachmaninoff and Chopin.
Gianopoulos now works in marketing for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He is composer-in-residence for the Symbiosis Chamber Orchestra and has a commission to create brief cello pieces for Music@Mimoda, an L.A. arts club.
As he immerses himself in music, Gianopoulos is astonished by his career path. “I owe so much to the Oswego faculty,” he says. “Oswego was the platform from which I could discover my passion for music and pursue it without being judged prematurely.”
To hear a sample of his music, visit Gianopoulos’ website at: www.georgengianopoulos.com.
—Linda Loomis ’90 M’97