Seven Seniors Perform Classical Concertos in Winter Recital

Highlighting their Andover music careers, seven Seniors gave capstone music performances during the Senior Concerto concert last Saturday in Cochran Chapel. The concert repertoire featured both classic and contemporary compositions, often with the accompaniment of Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music, on the piano. Kate Shih ’13 began the concert with “Trumpet Concerto, Andante – Allegro energico” by Alexander Arutiunian. The piece transitioned between short, fast-notes and gliding rhythms. “I loved the part where I had to use the mute in the middle of the piece. It made my piece both more unique and challenging,” said Shih. Changing the pace of the performance on the piano, Christopher Teng ’13 brought energy onto the stage with performances of “Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op. 25 – Andante” and “Molto Allegro con fuoco” by Felix Mendelssohn. Teng masterfully performed one of Mendelssohn’s well known pieces by staying true to Mendelssohn’s distinctive composition style of swinging and trepidatious notes. “I performed quite well just like Yuja Wang, a talented Chinese classical pianist, who I look up to… I was satisfied with my performance,” said Teng. As the first string concerto of the evening, Catherine Choi ’13 played “Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 – Vorspiel: Allegro moderato” by Max Bruch. Choi performed each note in the score with care and expression. Choi started off the piece with a somber and mournful tune but abruptly altered the mood of the piece by playing with high fingering positions and rapid bow tremolos , imitating the sense of empowerment. “Although it was nerve-wracking to perform in front of the crowd, once I started playing, I could immerse myself with the music and didn’t even have to think about the audience until I finished playing. I was so glad to see all my friends and mentors, including my violin teacher,” said Choi. Violist Tiffany Lam ’13 came next. Performing Cecil Forsyth’s “Viola Concerto in G minor, First movement, Appasionato-moderato,” Lam opened her performance with powerful octaves and the traditional soloist’s cadenza. The repetition of swift, staccato rhythms added the finishing touch to the compelling, light-hearted piece. “I felt pretty confident on the days leading up to the concert; I wasn’t too worried,” said Lam. “But once I got to the chapel to get ready, the nerves started to take over as I listened to the people before me perform. I had never performed a viola concerto before.” “Even though I made some mistakes, I’m happy with the turnout. Even from the opening with octaves opening the piece, I tried to emphasize the force and power of each note,” said Lam. Flutist Ayaka Shinozaki ’13 followed Lam with her performance of “Ballade, Op. 288 for Flute,” composed by Carl Reinecke, a piece that featured various quick shifts in tones and rhythms. Shinozaki fluidly kept up with the piece’s changing tempo, altering tonal moods over the four parts of this piece. Her fingers dexterously danced across her instrument as she shifted from rapid, fluctuating melodies to a more contemplative, eased cadenza. “I was extremely nervous but I had to admit, I had so much fun. Even though it was difficult, this piece simply made me so happy because I think I managed to convey the message of the piece to the audience. That was my goal for this performance,” wrote Shinozaki in an e-mail to The Phillipian. Yeo Bi Choi ’13 performed “Violin Concerto No. 3 – Allegro non troppo,” composed by Camille Saint-Saëns. Through her clean modulation of melodies, Choi started off the piece with a mysterious melody and ended the piece with a soothing line accompanied by tremolos. “When I was performing the piece, I was focusing on the emotional reminiscence…. I think these contrasting and sparkly passages in the piece describe and convey all these emotion of reminiscence,” said Choi. The piano performance by Dak Song ’13 marked a grand finale of the Concerto as he passionately and skillfully played the “Piano Concerto No. 2” by Saint- Saëns. Song successfully captured the piece’s ominous tone, mimicking the feel of an impending storm, a trait that is unique to Saint- Saëns’ pieces, which often feature heavy and dark tunes. “I was in awe at the way he was able to express the music not only through the instrument, but also through rapid movements of his hands and body. He had my attention from beginning to end,” said Efua Peterson ’14, an audience member. “My favorite part was the range of musical styles that Saint-Saens used. Many regard my piece as one that starts off with Baroque themes and ends with Romantic,” wrote Song in an e-mail to The Phillipian. “This 300 year span of styles led to the extreme diversities of emotions that I could use with a strong emphasis on primitive emotions such as tension, fear, dread, glee.” The Seniors featured in the concert have been preparing for their Concertos for over four months. Practice paid off, as the musicians received an enthusiastic applause from the audience.