Pianist-composer Samuel Durand is passionate about tapping into the beauty of music and utilizing it to point audiences toward God. Firmly believing in the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, he seeks to use the music he writes and plays to draw others to Jesus.
Born and raised in Central Arkansas, Samuel studied piano from a young age at the Searcy Community School of Music under Dr. Scott Carrell. He was honored to serve as the principal pianist for the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra, and is a two time winner of the Sam O’ Driggers Piano Festival at the University of Central Arkansas. He has had the opportunity to work with many pianists, such as: Dr. Clara Campbell Christian, Dr. Naoki Hakutani, Dr. Gustavo Peterlevitz, Daisy Jaffe, Renana Gutman, and the Eroica Piano Trio. Recently, he recorded selections of C.P.E. Bach’s works for the Packard Humanities Institute in Boston.
As a composer, Samuel’s first piece to be publicly premiered was “El Morro Castle” – which was performed in 2017 by the ASU Beebe symphonic band. In collaboration with flutist Anna McLeran, he performed his piece for flute and piano titled “Through Night Trees” for the Music Teachers Association of Central Arkansas and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Guild in 2019. His piece for solo piano – “Reminiscence” – was premiered at Harding University’s Reynolds Hall in 2020, and went on to become a national finalist in the 2020 MTNA composition competition. While studying at the Longy School of Music, he completed multiple works, including “Why Do We Suffer?”, for solo piano, and his first piano quintet titled “Death…Redemption…Life”. He is a member of the Christian Fellowship for Art Music Composers and ASCAP.
During high school, Samuel was privileged to have the opportunity to study conducting with Arkansas Symphony Orchestra director Geoffrey Robson. While working with Mr. Robson, he directed the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra in concert, and directed the premier recording of “Magic Waltz for Strings” by Little Rock composer Benjamin Abraham. He also led the Cabot Community Orchestra as their founding music director.
Samuel is a Presidential Scholar, and the Lindsey and Garth Greimann Fund Scholar at the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is studying piano with Andrius Zlabys, and composition with Peter Aldins.
Outside of his musical life, Samuel serves at his local church, on the Stoa Alumni Committee as the Senior Staff Writer for the Alumni Post, and on the Stoa Prayer Team. He enjoys teaching and learning about apologetics, biking/hiking, and listening to podcasts.
I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.~ J.S. Bach