Sconlnik-Brower Siblings Inspire PA Musicians

When Sasha Sconlnik-Brower ’13 and Sophie Sconlnik-Brower ’08, sibling music virtuosos, stepped on the Timken stage the audience witnessed a true blend of musical harmony. The rich vibratos of the cello and the passionate tones of the piano brought a lively sense of enthusiasm to the stage last Friday night. A slow “D” sharp with elaborate vibrato from the “Adagio and Allegro, Op.70” by R. Schumann opened the exciting recital. The audience held their breath to absorb the notes that flowed out of the delicate movements of Sasha’s bow. The lengthy and romantic lyrical lines of the Adagio enthralled the audience. The Allegro, in the piece, provided a repetitive theme and wide range of pitches that filled the room with vibrant energy. When the next piece began, the cheerful atmosphere was replaced by rather dark and doleful tunes. Sophie explained that “Sonata for Piano and Cello Op.5, No.2 in G minor,” by Beethoven, was her favorite piece to play. “The Beethoven was very fun and very exuberant. We had been wanting to play this Beethoven together for really long time,” said Sophie. Both of them, drenched with emotion and passion, recreated the impressive nuances of dynamic, and pitch originally envisioned by Beethoven for the audience. Inspired by a professional flutist mother, Sasha has been playing the cello for eleven years, and Sophie the piano for fourteen years. Sophie casually said, “The numbers don’t really matter. Music just has been big part of our lives. Sasha started on Violin, but he didn’t like having to stand up.” “Our mom encouraged us a lot, so it was a natural thing for us to begin playing an instrument,” said Sasha. After the short intermission, Sasha performed an unaccompanied piece by Bach: “Suite No.6 in D Major.” Having six different themes, the Suite started out with a Praeludium and concluded with Guigues. The piece contained simple baroque styled notes but required complex string crossings and a plethora of pitches to create the continuous stream of flowing notes. The Beethoven and the Bach were the major parts of this recital. “We focused around the big pieces like the Beethoven and Bach. From there we wanted some couple of smaller ones that are contrasting like the Schumann and Bartok,” said Sasha. The last piece of the Recital, Romanian Folk Dances by Bartok stood out the most atmosphere-wise. There were six parts to this piece, each being different arrangements of a single tune. Each arrangement was festive and joyous, though the last one was the most memorable. As the title, Maruntel (Fast Dance), implies, the last part of this Dance began with a rapid pace with jovial tunes and continued with an excited and joyous manner until the end. Sasha and Sophie’s ability to perform this piece made the audience stand on their feet and give them a standing ovation. “I was astonished by the virtuosity from both of them. And the clarity of the notes and their unique tone were fabulous,” said one of the audience members in admiration. No one in the audience hesitated to compliment the recital. “It was just great, nothing more to say,” said Sasha and Sophie’s grandfather. “I really loved the concert. It inspired me to continue to strive to be a better string player,” said Richer Levy ’13. Both Sasha and Sophie were pleased with the recital. “We played well together, and we had a good connection and spirit,” said Sophie. Sasha added, “It was really fun! We both really enjoyed it.” Furthermore, they wanted the audience and PA to take something away from the recital. “We really wanted the audience to enjoy themselves and come away with the feeling that a classical music can be exciting,” said Sasha. Recently, Sasha won the Boston Symphony Orchestra Concerto competition. It consisted of two rounds. The first required a submitted CD of his playing and then a performance at the Symphony Hall in Boston. Any instrument could participate in the competition, which made it more competitive. As a prize, he will be performing Schumann Cello concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra next June.