Lozano performs Mozart as Mozart at Mozart’s

Senior piano major celebrates famous composer’s 265th birthday with virtuoso performance at Austin coffeehouse that bears his name

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courtesy of Beth Thompson

Senior piano major Luke Lozano donned the full Baroque-style costume to play the part and the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on his 265th birthday. What would Mozart have thought of the performance? “I think he would have been flattered,” Mozart’s Coffee Roasters owner Ken Leonard said. “Even though the world has changed quite a bit, and certainly music has changed quite a bit, that his music was played to a full house, and it wasn’t just contemplative seniors who love classical music; the majority of the people were young people.”

Senior Luke Lozano played piano last Wednesday at a party 265 years in the making. An ode to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his birthday on Jan. 27, the celebration took place and was hosted by Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, welcoming a lakeside afternoon of coffee and classics performed by Lozano.

We don’t create music so that we can sit home alone and listen to ourselves.”

— piano teacher Kate Wiley

Because he plays annually at the coffee shop’s light show, Lozano is used to working up his set and performing for the customers. This gig, however, was a first-time event, and Lozano had to prepare the pieces just days before the celebration.

“I practiced about five or six hours on both Monday and Tuesday,” he said. “As with anything, the more you do it the better you get. So the more music I learn, the better I get at piano overall.”
Once he mastered the music, Lozano made final preparations before performing,

But Lozano wasn’t just performing Mozart; he was performing as Mozart … dressing in Baroque-style clothing and wig indicative of Mozart’s era (along with a mask).

A MOZART BIRTHDAY SUIT: The full Mozart costume may have gotten the audience in the mood to hear songs composed by the famous Austrian composer, but Lozano said playing in the costume did take some getting used to. Photo courtesy of Beth Thompson.

“It was a little uncomfortable to play with the wig and long sleeves, but eventually I figured it out,” Lozano said. “And it’s nice to be able to perform during COVID. I’m really lucky that Mozart’s has a big outdoor patio that people can gather on.”

Lozano’s favorite part of the experience, however, was simply making music.

“I really enjoy how free I feel when playing piano,” he said. “Classical music has so many nuances and different choices each individual performer can make, so I really express my interpretation of the music to the fullest extent.”

He is an absolute perfectionist with his music, and our customers both admire him and love to hear him play. He brings a lot of joy to people.”

— Mozart's Coffee Roasters owner Ken Leonard

According to McCallum piano teacher Kate Wiley, one of Lozano’s mentors, this act of expression is what makes performances so crucial for musicians.

“We don’t create music so that we can sit home alone and listen to ourselves,” Wiley said. “We create music to share with the world —and every chance Luke has gotten to do so I have been supportive of.”

Wiley attributes Lozano’s success in getting these gigs to his profound drive and dedication to the instrument, especially through practice.

“Luke is one of the most driven young musicians that I have had the pleasure of teaching,” she said. “He practices constantly, reaches out to collegiate professors for guidance and lessons, and all in all, puts the time in to be a successful musician.”

Wiley also referenced the coffee shop’s online flyer with the subheadline, “An Austin prodigy plays the prodigy.”

The promotional poster that Mozart’s made for the concert in honor of Mozart’s 265th birthday proclaimed that “an Austin prodigy” (Lozano) plays the prodigy (Mozart).” Promotional poster by Mozart’s Coffee Roasters.

“If that doesn’t tell you how highly they think of Luke,” she said, “then I don’t know what does.”

Ken Leonard, the owner of Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, confirmed Wiley’s assessment by praising Lozano’s musicianship and his ability to connect with audiences.

“Luke might only be 17 years young, but he is a professional,” he said. “He is an absolute perfectionist with his music, and our customers both admire him and love to hear him play. He brings a lot of joy to people.”

Classical music has so many nuances and different choices each individual performer can make, so I really express my interpretation of the music to the fullest extent.”

— senior piano major Luke Lozano

The staff of Mozart’s, too, is especially fond of Lozano’s performances at the coffee shop. Leonard even described him as a part of the Mozart’s family.

“We have many, many really up-and-coming professional artists that are in their early to late 20s, early 30s, where music is their actual full-time job,” Leonard said. “And even with that level of competition, Luke’s kind of a house favorite for all of the staff.”

Leonard explained the cafe’s name roots simply from the original vision for the business: something classic. Nonetheless, he feels that Mozart would have been pleased to see such a turnout for his 265th birthday.

“I think he would have been flattered,” Leonard said. “Even though the world has changed quite a bit, and certainly music has changed quite a bit, that his music was played to a full house, and it wasn’t just contemplative seniors who love classical music; the majority of the people were young people.”

In light of the celebration and Lozano’s performance, Leonard emphasized the importance of exploring and encouraging musical passions, especially in high school.

“Keep doing everything that you can in your school community to encourage kids to follow their dreams of music,” he said. “Whether it’s rock, whether it’s modern, whether it’s classical like Luke.”
“Music brings a lot of joy to a lot of people.”