Peter Miyamoto
Tuesday, March 15, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:02 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

As a young student about to enter college, Peter Miyamoto found himself torn between great programs.

As a high school student in San Francisco, he had a variety of interests, including playing piano, competing in local tennis tournaments and participating in student government at his school. Miyamoto described his upbringing and education as “normal.”

“I had every intention of entering a regular university to get a liberal-arts education,” Miyamoto said.

Intentions aside, Miyamoto was presented with a difficult decision near the end of his high school career.

He learned he had been accepted to Stanford University in California, his first choice school, and also to The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

He was torn.

The Curtis Institute of Music’s Web site said it is considered one of the finest music schools in the world and enrolls a small number of student-musicians to provide a personal education experience. All students admitted to Curtis receive full-tuition scholarships.

“Because Curtis was free, I decided to try music for a year, and deferred my admission to Stanford for a year,” Miyamoto said. “That was an intensely difficult year for me in which I really struggled with the question of my future career and what I ultimately wanted to do with my life.”

After making his decision, Miyamoto, now an assistant professor of piano at MU, soon realized it was the right one for him.

“Since the moment I realized that, I’ve never looked back and only look forward to how I can deepen my musical understanding and awareness for my performances and teaching,” he said.

Miyamoto’s lifelong passion for music has taken him all over the globe to study, teach and perform. He said traveling can have its ups and downs.

“I love traveling, but the truth of the matter is that all of that can be difficult when performing,” he said. “I really value having a center to my life, a place I can call home and use as a base — and this place is now Columbia and the MU community.”

— Sheniqua Faulkner

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