After speaking about the impact that Ballade No. 1 in G Minor Op. 23 by Frederic Chopin had on her life, Emma Fu ’21 calmly lifted her hands to the piano keys and began playing her final piece’s soft melody. After the conclusion of the piece, the audience instantly rose for a standing ovation.
Playing in the Cochran Chapel for the last time, Fu’s Senior Recital was attended by her closest friends and other members of the Andover community. Fu viewed her Senior Recital as especially meaningful and important, as it not only concluded her three years playing piano at Andover, but it was also a performance dedicated to people she loved.
“Today’s performance for some of my friends was the first and also the last time they’ll ever hear me play. So I really really wanted to make that special for them and also for me because this is probably one of the last times that it was the first time and last time that I got to play in the Chapel. And so today was super super special to me,” said Fu.
According to Fu, all six of the pieces in her program were meaningful to her, especially the Chopin Ballade, as it was the piece which made Fu seriously start to pursue the piano.
“It’s a combination of the past 12 years of my piano experience. I have to play this piece. And I want to end the entire recital on that piece as well, just because of how important it has been for my piano journey,” said Fu.
During the recital, the passion and story behind each piece Fu played was clearly apparent, according to Fu’s friend and fellow pianist Lexie Mariano ’21. Mariano has witnessed how Fu progressed as a pianist and believed that Fu was demonstrating a lot of enthusiasm, effort, and commitment in her performance, especially in her playing of Verdi’s “Rigoletto.”
“It’s just so impressive, the fact that she can pull it off technically, as well as put all of her willpower and passion, and just all of her energy into that piece, it’s really incredible,” said Mariano.
Before she played “Rigoletto,” Fu explained that the piece was based off of an opera about a love triangle, which audience member Patricia Tran ’24 found useful in connecting with the music.
“In one of the pieces, the story behind it was this opera, this love, romance thing, and with her background information, I could really hear the voices, especially with the soprana and the bass fighting over each other… I could really hear it in my head,” said Tran.
Fu explained that she finalized her program only a month before the recital, heightening her nerves. Despite her nerves at the significance of the recital, she ultimately felt proud of the performance she gave.
“It was a sense of a mix of pride, satisfaction, and love. I think I really wanted to share the love that I had for music and for the piano with everybody in the audience… I just felt so loved at the end of my recital. I just felt so supported. My closest friends were in the audience. My closest family, they couldn’t watch because it’s not live, but I knew they were thinking of me, and I was surrounded by everybody I loved and they were all cheering for me,” said Fu.
Fu expressed gratitude towards the entire music department at Andover for providing support throughout her time at Andover, and to everything her friends have done in the past three years to support her at Andover both as a pianist and as a person. She plans to pursue a dual degree with piano in college.
“I feel like this was such a big milestone in my life. I feel like now, for the next three years, I’m doing a degree, so piano is moving from my lifelong friend to my lifelong partner,” said Fu.