Senior Recitals: Younghoon Moon and Jennifer Miao

Last Saturday, both Younghoon Moon ’10 and Jennifer Miao ’10 bid farewell as they performed their final solo pieces for Phillips Academy. Both musicians gave heart-wawrming performances in the Timken Room for their Senior Recitals. The warm timbre of the violin and the gentle notes of the piano left a memorable experience for the audience. The recital started off with classical pieces, both in F major. Miao eased the audience into the recital with the first movement of Mozart’s “Piano Sonata in F Major.” Her quick fingers produced a crisp sound for the difficult trills and ornaments. After Miao’s initial piece, Moon took the stage and performed all four movements of Beethoven’s “Spring Sonata for Violin in F Major,” with Director of Performance Christopher Walter accompanying on the piano. Moon captured the lively style of the sonata with effortless strokes of his bow, using every inch of the bow hair to his advantage. Moon later remarked, “I really enjoyed the “Spring Sonata,” just because it’s Senior Spring. All four movements have tremendous character, and I enjoyed trying to tap into the character for each movement.” Moon received a lengthy applause for his portrayal of these characters. The piece was also a favorite among the audience. “I really loved Hoonie’s Beethoven. The second movement was so gentle and I felt so calm and relaxed and happy. The last movement of that sonata was really great and fun to listen to,” said Jennifer Chew ’10. Following a brief intermission, Miao continued the classical trend and performed the first two movements of Beethoven’s “Tempest Sonata.” The first movement was played with thoughtful musicality, and Miao added a calm characteristic to the tumultuous sections of the piece. With “Visions Fugitives” by Prokofiev, the recital took an unexpected turn to modern music. Miao performed four, short movements out of the twenty-movement series. Miao said that, “I really liked my Prokofiev pieces…I had the most difficulty interpreting these modern pieces because I’ve never played anything beyond Prokofiev, so that was quite the challenge.” The dissonant chords in the Prokofiev were beautifully played by Miao, whose sound was precise and sincere. Moon added to the drama of second-half of the recital with his rendition of “Zigeunerweisen in C Minor” by Pablo Sarasate. The piece showcased Moon’s musicianship; each section was filled with difficult technicality, which Moon presented with a warm tone. The piece ended on a theatrical chord and Moon in a state of high-energy. Miao concluded the recital with Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C-Sharp Minor” and “Sunflower,” written by Chinese composer Wang Yu Shi. In the Rachmaninoff, Miao played with a controlled intensity and passion. “I really love how Jen got into all of her pieces; it made it even better,” said Katy Svec ’10. Jennifer Chew ’10 loved Miao’s performance of “Sunflower” saying, “It ended the concert on a nice sentimental note.” At the conclusion of the recital, both musicians took their bows and thanked their individual teachers and the Music Department at Phillips Academy. Later, Miao said, “I like the amount of support you get from teachers. You just get a really good relationship with them and it builds up over these four years, and they are so helpful and supportive through the entire time. I think that’s what I’ll miss the most.” For Moon, the thing he will miss the most is the variety of musical opportunities at PA. “I had the chance to play in a senior recital today, in a really well-organized concert yesterday, [I participated in] the chamber music program, and the community service initiatives like the Andover Lawrence Strings program. So, I am happy to say that I was able to experience almost every one of [these opportunities] while I was here at PA and I hope the Music Department continues to foster the growth of these open bodies.”