With a slow and contemplative piano introduction by Rebecca Plummer, Adjunct Instructor in Music, Cindy Koh ’17 eased her bow across her viola in a low and hopeful harmony. Moving into the second movement of César Franck’s “Sonata in A Major,” Koh slashed through crescendos and decrescendos. Slowing to a halt, Plummer led Koh up into another high-pitched frenzy into a hurried conclusion.
“For Franck, I learned it for the senior recital, so I started right before spring break. It’s such a wonderful piece. It’s a violin piece, so it’s really hard because of the fingering, and the range is higher for viola, and you don’t really use the lowest C string. I love using the C string, so it was a dilemma for me whether to play it or not, but it’s so pretty, so I decided to use the first two movements. I didn’t have time to learn the third and fourth, but I’m going to learn them,” said Koh.
This piece was one of three pieces performed in Koh’s senior recital in the Timken Room in Graves Hall. The recital featured music from the 18th and 19th centuries.
“She was on the fence about doing a senior recital, so I told her, ‘You owe this to yourself. You improved so much since you’ve come here. I know you’ve got into college, but you’ve got all this time where you don’t need to worry about college, so focus on music. This is your time.’,” said Holly Barnes, Instructor in Music and Director of Performance and Koh’s viola teacher.
Koh performed the first two movements of Joseph Hadyn’s “Divertimento in D Major” with strong and assured bow strokes. The first movement faded into a slow melody before Koh increased the tempo and bowing intensely fast. Leading an upbeat melody, Koh finished with two definitive, low bow strokes.
“I was stuck on was [Hadyn] because I really don’t play that type of music much. I really like dramatic music, but this is very straightforward. I struggled a lot. I had to go over it with [Plummer] many times compared to my other pieces,” said Koh.
According to Koh, her major source of inspiration and motivation throughout her viola career at Andover has been her teacher, Barnes.
“It’s really hard to get motivated for your senior recital or concerto or whatever it is. Cindy’s a very passionate player, and she’s been on this upward trajectory in the music department, playing in the orchestra and chamber music and anything extra, playing for the trustees and all these things that I ask her to do and she does. I was really happy to see that this year was one of her best musically,” said Barnes.