With a swift exchange of nods, Cathy Cho ’22, Eby McKenzie ’20, and Megan Cui ’21 launched into a rendition of Beethoven’s “Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 3” on the cello, violin, and piano respectively. Starting with a low-pitched harmony from all three instruments, an unspoken conversation soon guided their playing, with the low rumble of the cello complementing the high-pitched melodies of the piano and violin.
“I thought the most challenging part was playing certain scales and chords in this trio. As we picked up the pace, the notes became harder to play since they were moving so fast. Sometimes I kept messing up and it was frustrating,” said Cui.
This piece was one of several performed at the Academy Chamber Music Society concert, held in the Timken Room of Graves Hall this past Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. The concert featured a collection of student performances that showcased a variety of instruments and classical pieces.
“I really enjoy organizing and coaching chamber music. I love this repertoire, even more so than solo or symphonic. I love those, but in chamber music everyone is heard. Everyone’s a soloist in a way, but they get to interact with one another. It’s really the pinnacle of music making. I love getting to teach them, and then listening to them, [and] watching that give-and-take,” said Holly Barnes, Instructor in Music, who helped organize the concert.
The concert also featured “Blew Cheese” by David Anderson, a duet performance for the double bass. After the rendition opened on an irregular and rapid rhythm, the performers quickly broke apart, with one playing long-drawn-out notes while the other played a rapid flurry of melodies.
According to James Lemuel ’19, who performed the duet with Evan Tsai ’21, his pair was able to overcome the challenges of the double bass duet.
“[Tsai] and I were really in sync and we stayed together for the majority of the piece. Our coach, Mrs. Barnes, was also really happy with the performance, and it felt fun to play in the moment. If there was a message or goal in my playing, it was just to show the potential for versatility and complexity in bass playing,” wrote Lemuel in an email to The Phillipian.
Cui hopes that events like this concert inspires more students to embrace chamber music, as classical music is a large part of her life.
“It’d be great if more people can start to appreciate the beauty of classical music. Playing the piano has become a part of me, and I’ll never get tired of doing it. Even just listening to some classical music would make you feel much better,” said Cui.