The hills may be alive with the sound of music, but in Tulsa, the von Trapps cannot compete with the Morie family. When piano performance junior Lydia Morie practiced her instruments, she had to race her nine siblings to the best practice rooms. “There would be at least three instruments going: violin, French horn, guitar, piano, vocals, etc.” Morie laughed. “We were always practicing. You had to either find a good place to practice or hear another instrument in another room.”
Music is in her blood
By the age of three, Morie’s musical family began to teach her piano, and although she plays numerous instruments like the violin, her true love is the ivory keys. “Piano holds a special place in my heart,” she said. “It’s how I feel when I play it and the happiness it brings my audience.”
Morie’s violin teacher was Russian, and she invited the Morie family to her church for the harvest. Her family surprised everyone by their musical talent, and pastors of several Russian churches took notice. “We ended up traveling to hundreds of Russian churches,” Morie said. Her father would preach, and the Morie siblings would play music. “We learned Russian songs and played them in the churches. They would say ‘That’s so cool that you are speaking Russian and singing Russian songs.'”
At 15-years-old, Morie was already successfully teaching piano lessons and composing music. She wasn’t sure if college was in her future, but a scholarship changed her life trajectory.
The Patti Johnson Wilson Scholarship
While performing at her piano teacher’s annual concert, Morie met TU Professor of Music Roger Price. “Afterward, he came up and talked to me. He said, ‘You really should audition at TU.’ He told me about the different scholarships,” she said.
After deciding to attend TU, Morie was unsure how she could afford it, but her concerns were relieved after she won the Golden scholarship and later the Patti Johnson Wilson Scholarship. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Patti Johnson Wilson Scholarship. It’s provided me a place to live, the means to buy my books and the ability to come to TU,” Morie said.
The Patti Johnson Wilson Scholarship allowed Morie to live on campus where she could practice on the state-of-the-art pianos at Lorton Performance Center. “I don’t have to drive from home to TU anymore, which is quite a drive,” she explained. “It has saved me so much time and money, and it also lets me get more involved on campus since I live here.”
Once at TU, Morie flourished. She won the concerto-aria competition and performed at the annual TU President’s Concert. “That was probably the best performance of my whole life. It was an amazing experience,” Morie said. “I never would have dreamed that I would play a piano concerto at age 19 with an orchestra.”
Morie practices piano four hours a day, and every week, she performs at her studio class. “It’s like a masterclass setting, she explained. “You get performing experience each week playing your new pieces.”
Let your love of music grow into a career at the TU School of Music.
Taking her music abroad
Partnering with piano performance, Morie is double majoring in Russian studies. Next Fall, she will study in St. Petersburg. “I am going to write my senior piano project about Russian composers and music,” she said. “I can talk to people and go to museums. Plus, I am going to be living with a Russian family.”
Her time at TU has solidified Morie’s musical future. “The lessons at TU have opened my mind. The piano is almost a different instrument now,” she said. “I have a lot of dreams and aspirations. I’m not sure where I’ll end up or what I’ll be doing, but I’m always teaching music, writing music and performing.” After all, these are a few of her favorite things.
Hear more from Lydia on her classical music YouTube channel.