EMA Board Member Highlight: Charles Metz

Charles Metz studied piano at Penn State University, beginning his harpsichord studies through private lessons with the legendary Igor Kipnis. In the process of earning a Ph.D. in Historical Performance Practice at Washington University in Saint Louis Missouri, he studied with Trevor Pinnock. More recently, Charles has worked with Webb Wiggins and Lisa Crawford at the Oberlin Conservatory. Dr. Metz also obtained a doctorate in optometry and worked for twenty years in his own private practice and Clarkson Eyecare in St. Louis before retiring ten years ago. In addition to his performing activity, he serves on the Board of Directors of Chamber Music Society of St. Louis, The Newberry Consort and Early Music America.

How did you come to the field of early music?
My first exposure to early music and harpsichord, in particular, was in High School when I visited the Smithsonian in Washington DC and saw a demonstration of a French Harpsichord. I remember the sound, the light, the room everything about the moment in vivid detail.  It changed my life.  I went on to achieve a Ph.D. In Historical Performance Practice and building eight kit instruments during my schooling.   

What role does early music play in your life?
After my Ph.D. anticipating that a career in harpsichord would be financially challenging, I went back to school obtaining a doctorate in optometry.  A profession that has flexibility in continuing side passions.  Retired now from optometry,  I am a full-time professional player of keyboards from virginals, harpsichords to fortepiano performing nearly 30  ensemble and solo performances a year.

What is your most memorable early music experience from the last year?

A solo performance of Elizabethan music on my historic 400-year-old Italian virginal and 1640 Ruckers copy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. 

Unexpectedly, you have two hours of free time later today… what will you do?
“Practice makes perfect”.  It is my passion. 

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