Pianist Eugen Indjic ’65 Revisits Campus

Phillips Academy never fails to accept a handful of ‘music nerds’ each year, and Eugen Indjic ’65 was no exception. Alumnus Indjic revisited campus and enraptured the audience with his phenomenal performance of works by 19th century composers Frédéric Chopin, Robert Schumann, and Maurice Ravel last Friday. Indjic told the audience that he used to practice six hours per day at Andover in the 60’s when he attended school. He played on the national television network at the age of thirteen and, at the age of eighteen, performed Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Moreover, Indjic won three international concerts and has performed all around the world. It was an amazing opportunity to hear the master play and allow the instrument to sing in the capacious space of the Chapel. Many members of the Andover community, including maestro Indjic’s Junior year house counselor, came to visit the former Andover student. People outside of Phillips Academy, including Indjic’s former advisor at Harvard University, were also present to hear the world-class pianist. The recital began with Chopin’s four impromptus, each of which built up intensity one after another. The first impromptu displayed a warm, sweet melody in triplets as Indjic effortlessly glided across the keyboard and fluttered the numerous keys. From the gentle first impromptu, Indjic flawlessly segued into the explosive, rapid scales of the last impromptu. Even in the fast, violent parts of the piece, Indjic phrased and gently played each line and note. Shirley Guo ’11 said, “Although I’ve heard it played numerous times, I’ve never heard it played as perfectly as he played it.” Indjic then performed Schumann’s “Carnaval,” the grand, extrovert piece of the repertoire. Through its 21 movements, Indjic performed with vigor, stomping piano pedals angrily, running his fingers frantically and jumping from octave to octave. He also displayed perfect technique and beautiful interpretation of the diverse emotions present in each movement. Indjic played “Eusebius” with a heartfelt melodic attention while he pounded the strong chords of “Marche des Davidsbundler contre les Philistins” (March of the Davidsbundler against the Philistines). After a short intermission, Indjic performed Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit,” one of the masterpieces of the piano repertoire. A solo piece in three movements, “Gaspard de la Nuit” represents the stories of a water fairy, tinting bells and a small fiend using sound only. The last movement, “Scarbo,” was especially notable for its notoriously “fast and furious” passages. The exuberant, flying melody was constantly supported with repeated, lower notes played with the left hand. Indjic’s mastery of the piano and the technical difficulties of the piece were clear through his expressive performance. Indjic’s advisor from Harvard noted, “We are so lucky to hear this tonight.” “Gaspard de la Nuit” was followed by three short “Mazurkas,” which provided a respite from the grand, passionate works from before. The second “Mazurka” in F sharp minor in particular had a lilting melody that reflected the dancing and flowing aspect of the piece. Next, Indjic performed the “Polonaise in A flat Major, Op. 53.” The polonaise featured Chopin’s pride and nationalism and is also known as the “Heroic” for its obvious majestic quality. The grand chords projected throughout the chapel, and their sounds sound reverberated in the large space, allowing the audience to fully appreciate the grandeur of the piece. The smashing polonaise was ensued by a standing ovation. In response, Indjic performed an encore, Debussy’s “Fireworks.” “Fireworks,” a forceful and festive piece, was definitely one of the highlights of the night. Even within this alarmingly fast piece, Indjic articulated each note and expressed each dynamic beautifully. His playing conveyed his motto that even in a fast piece, the harmonic changes have to sound as if they are in a slow piece. We can only hope that maestro Indjic comes back to Andover to give yet another fantastic concert in the coming years.