Sam He ’17 Explores the 19th Century in Senior Recital

Passionately pounding the piano keys to produce a melodious arrangement of chords, Sam He ’17 closed the night with his final piece, Chopin’s “Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor,” in his senior recital. As the notes became more rapid and loud, his fingers danced from one end of the keys to the other, ending with a flourish.

“I think my favorite piece is Chopin’s ‘Scherzo.’ I have a friend who really enjoys Chopin, so that goes out to him. It’s probably one of the most challenging pieces I’ve played. It is repetitive, but there is a lot of focus required to play a lot of the more technically-challenging parts,” said He.

This past Sunday, He performed his solo piano recital in the Timken Room at Graves Hall as a culmination of his musical career at Andover.

“I actually haven’t performed at Andover until this year… This is probably one of the most exciting things of my Senior year. It’s Senior spring, I’ve got AP’s ahead of me, but now this is something I get to knock off my Senior spring bucket list,” said He.

He opened his concert with Beethoven’s “Tempest.” The first two of three movements were characterized with long, smooth notes followed by staccato chords. This varying tempo contrasted from the last movement, where rapid, dancing notes dominated the performance.

“Most of these pieces I’ve been playing since [ninth grade], and my teacher wanted me to play pieces I’m pretty good at already or that I’ve played before, so my repertoire was pretty straightforward,” said He.

He followed his performance with Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 3, No. 2” and “Prelude in G minor, Op. 23, No. 5.” Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C-sharp minor” followed a crescendo, starting off slow and heavy before climaxing in a series of thunderous, ominous notes and ending with a silent chord. Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in G minor” was just the opposite — the piece started with loud, melodious chords before diminishing into gentle, small sounds and coming back into resounding noise.

“I’ve never played [Rachmaninoff] before. The other three pieces I have, so that was different. Also, they were newer pieces for me, so I wasn’t sure how they would go, but they turned out great,” said He.