Prem Raj Ruffin
Pianist, Prem-Raj Ruffin, was introduced to the piano at an early age by his mother, an accomplished portrait artist and enthusiastic music lover. While growing up, he provided worship music during Sunday morning liturgical services. His talent was nurtured through the musical religious tradition of Southern Maryland where he grew up. He was often invited to accompany vocalists and play for many different choirs and religious services. His music talent was recognized by Howard University School of Music during his admission process. While attending Howard University he received piano instruction from noted pianists: Dr. Charles Timbrell, Dr. Geri Allen, Dr. Raymond Jackson and Charles Covington.
Raj prefers not to be regarded as a child prodigy or virtuoso for its own sake. He instead believes that anyone can be developed who studies properly. His technical training and piano pedagogy distinguishes him as a frequently sought after piano instructor.
While his influences are many, he embraces pianists from earlier generations such as, Radu Lupa, Nina Simon, Claudio Arrau, Martha Argerich and McCoy Tyner to name a few. Each of these pianists while expressing their own cultural and societal belief possesses a strong understanding of harmony, rhythm, and technique. It is with this impetus that Raj approaches piano studies.
Raj’s warm, sometimes bluesy playing reflects a close proximity to southern Christian-music, which, he attests, has greatly influenced his musicality. Whether it is Jazz or classical piano, his soulfulness is always felt harmonically and rhythmically. Raj often reminds students of the mantra that “Music is what happens between the notes” which is used to help develop musicality in many of his students.
Currently Raj is developing technical studies for piano and he is writing several piano works dedicated to his early childhood musical education.
“When the student is ready the teacher appears”