Swaying to the melody of the piano accompaniment, William Duan ’19 lifted his bow to begin “Romance in F minor, Op. 11” by Antonin Dvořák. Smooth, tinkling piano notes filtered throughout the Timken Room, painting a mellow and minor tone. Just as the bell-like piano begins to diminish, Duan’s rich, serene strokes filled the growing silence.
Duan gave a senior recital in the Timken Room of Graves Hall this past Saturday. His purpose in holding the concert was to demonstrate his appreciation and respect for peers who have inspired him during his time at Andover. According to Duan, his experiences at the school have helped him improve his playing.
“I met a lot of people and I had a lot of positive experiences at Andover, and that experience has really worked its way into my playing. Although my technique hasn’t really improved that much, it really improved my expression,” said Duan.
Interweaving trills with a series of complex melodies, the Bach Sonata No. 1 in G Minor incorporated intense, dissonant tones into soft, harmonic ones. Duan expressed that this fugue was his favorite piece in his program because of its immense complexities included in the music of a single lyrical instrument.
“The fugue is my favorite form of music because of the contrapuntal finesse required to compose a fugue… contrapuntal writing is all about the different lines and voices and how they interact with each other. I like to bring out the individual voices through my playing and I think it is the interaction between them that create musical interest,” said Duan.
Cathy Cho ’22, also a violinist, met Duan at the first orchestra rehearsal of the school year after hearing him play a solo part. According to Cho, she and many others were immediately drawn to his music. Since then, Duan’s hard work has inspired Cho to practice more violin.
“He’s so great, his intonation is on fleek. And this doesn’t come with sitting down and not practicing. It comes with determination and will,” said Cho.
Duan’s friends have also been a source of support and encouragement for him. According to Duan, being exposed to their talent has prompted him to match their determination and perseverance as well.
“They’re kind of like a motivation; I have to catch up to their level. It’s like friendly competition that’s a really powerful motivator,” said Duan.
According to Duan, the Baroque genre speaks to him the best because this type of music brings out the violin’s unique aspects the most. Duan particularly appreciates the polyphonic aspect of the violin.
“There are four strings; I can play all four strings at the same time. That’s a part of why I like the Bach Fugue so much, like how I can accompany myself and it’s a really expressive instrument with so many possibilities,” said Duan.