Cellist and Pianist: The Junko Simons and Steve Lantner Concert

The sound of cello and piano duets reverberated around the Timken Room of Graves Hall during the joint concert of Junko Simons and Steve Lantner last Friday.

Simons is a cellist and adjunct instructor in the Music Department, while Lantner is a Massachusetts-based pianist and improviser.

The Andover community welcomed the “old friends” with delight.

The duo played three compositions, starting off with “Three Fantasy Pieces (Fantasiestucke) Op. 73,” composed by Robert Schumann.

The cello accompanied the piano as it took the lead. The melody flew smoothly and allowed the audience to feel more relaxed.

After the first piece, Simons and Lantner played “Three Short Works for Cello and Piano Op. 11,” by Anton Webern.

The final piece played was “Sonata for Cello and Piano in C Major Op. 119,” by Sergei Prokofiev.

The tune had an eerie feel, as the cello played in a lower range, and the piano added a bit of excitement to the piece with jumpy notes.

All the pieces varied in tempo, mood and pitch, creating a captivating and diverse concert.

Throughout the performance, the duo was enthusiastically engaged in the pieces it played, and the sound of the cello and piano harmonized well together.

Lantner’s fingers moved elegantly along the keys, quickly yet controlled, while Simons strummed the strings of the cello with charisma.

Christopher Walters, Instructor in Music said, “Both artists are well known to everybody here. They are old friends.”

Walter said that since there are over 90 students taking piano lessons this year at Andover, the concert was a good opportunity for students to listen to a live piano concert.

Cathy Liu ’15 said, “I had no idea there was going to be a concert tonight. I was coming to Graves to practice [piano], and then my friend and I saw there was a concert and decided to sit in and listen.”

“I hope I’ll be inspired to practice more. Seeing someone really good makes me want to be better at the piano,” said Liu.

The audience that filled the room thoroughly enjoyed the concert, applauding thunderously at the end of the performance.

Barbara Cataudella, Senior Tea Hostess, who attended the concert said, “I like music, and all the music they offer here is wonderful.”

Lauren Smith ’15 said, “I like to hear music. [and] I [was] really excited to hear the Schumann piece because I really like the composer.”

Simons said of her joint recital with Lantner, “I wanted to do the recitals with [Lantner] because his compositional, jazz and improvisational background enables him to approach ‘old’ music with fresh ears and eyes, untainted by classical conventions.”

“[Lantner] is aware of and respects the traditions of classical performance but is not confined to them,” she said.

She continued, “Every rehearsal has been full of joyful revelations. [Lantner] would play a phrase or line just differently enough to draw my attention to it as if I had never heard it before.”