Senior Recitals: Annie Li and Nikita Saxena

Commemorating their musical careers at Phillips Academy, Annie Li ’10 and Nikita Saxena ’10 showcased remarkable and radiant joint Senior Recital in the Timken Room of Graves Hall. The chattering of numerous parents and students muffled as the lights turned on, hinting that the senior recital was about to begin. The two performers took turns performing their music, with Li first to perform. Li elegantly walked towards the piano on the stage and opened her recital with her first piece, ‘Prelude in E Minor, Op.28 No.4’ by Frédéric Chopin and ‘Prelude and Fugue in e minor’ by Johann Sebastian Bach. Annie highlighted the tensions between the oscillating melody and the harmony well. The exotic chromatic progressions also enveloped the audience, holding its attention for the music’s duration. The pieces that followed were ‘Sonata No.32 in b minor’ by Joseph Haydn and ‘Rhapsody in g minor, Op. 79 No.2’ by Johannes Brahms. Li ended on a strong note with her exhilarating precision. She performed with vigor and energy, striking each key with a dynamic motion. Li later said that ‘Rhapsody in g minor, Op. 79 No.2’ was indeed her favorite piece during the recital. She said, “I feel like there are a lot of emotional storm inside the music. It was both a challenging and an interesting piece to work with, but I felt like was worth it because the performance drew the audience.” While Li had practiced for2 hours a day since the beginning of winter term, she still admitted to nervousness. “I was really in and out of being nervous. I was extremely nervous an hour before the recital. But then, during the recital I felt surprisingly calm,” Li said. “I think the fact that a lot of my people came to support me helped me a lot. Also, the fact that Nikita performed with me helped me out. I think it was better than having to do it by yourself.” Trey Jennings ’12, one of the audience members, said, “Annie was really great throughout the whole recital. Her music kept shifting between high and low keys and I think that tension really kept the audiences hooked.” The joint recital’s second performer, Saxena, walked up on to the stage in a charming black dress after Li’s performance. As a phenomenal violin player, she didn’t once disappoint the crowd. Her first piece, ‘Parita for Solo Violin in E major, No.3, BWV 1006’ by Johann Sebastian Bach, was delivered in a clear harmonious tune in different chords with a vibrato that echoed through the room. Her next piece, ‘Romance for Violin in Piano, No.2 in F Major, Op.50’ by Ludwing van Beethoven, accompanied by Instructor in Music Christina Landolt, was a romantic exchange between two instruments . The piano and the violin were played in perfect harmony as the audience watched intently. Unlike the other songs in the recital, the song was joyful and bright, as was Saxenaís smile flashed to the audience at the end of her song. Saxena later said ‘Romance for Violin in Piano, No.2 in F Major, Op.50’was one of her favorite songs. She added, “I really like pretty music. I feel like [this] song is very pretty and I’m a huge fan of music like that. It’s also a lot of fun to play, and the interaction with the accompanist made it really interesting.” She was also extremely pleased with how the recital turned out. “I think [the recital] went really well. I’m glad that a lot of my families and friends showed up, which also kept me calm while I was on stage.” The wonderful senior recital came to an end with ‘Berceuse, Op.16,’ a duo performance by both Li and Saxena. The song was a perfect ending for the recital and the two musicians, as they performed their last song with emotion, turning all of their hard work into a fruitful success. Uday Singh ’12 said, “I liked how they both played separately but came together and played the same piece in the end. It was really well performed and it had a sense of emotional harmony.”